Communities Minister’s £6.5m additional support for vulnerable people over the Christmas period

Date published: 10 December 2020

Communities Minister Carál Ní Chuilín has allocated a further £6.5million to support those most severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

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The programmes will be delivered in partnership with local councils, health trusts, charities and the community and voluntary sector, to ensure support is directed swiftly to those most in need.

The Minister said: “Throughout this pandemic my priority has been to help those most in need. These additional allocations will allow me to continue to do that as people face the added financial and emotional pressures of Christmas and the New Year.

“This additional funding will help provide access to food, access to support around period poverty and will help to keep people ‘warm, well and connected’ at a particularly difficult time of the year. It will be directly targeted at the most vulnerable, including children and young people; carers; older people; people living with a disability; and anyone who has lost income as a result of Covid-19.

“I am acutely aware of the detrimental impact the pandemic has had on people’s emotional and physical wellbeing, so addressing loneliness and isolation, emotional wellbeing and financial hardship relating to household bills, is a key focus of this support.”

Minister Ní Chuilín continued: “My Department will continue to work with all relevant stakeholders to ensure we get support to those people to address their most basic needs. 

“I want to pay tribute to the many organisations and individual volunteers who have been working tirelessly to support our communities and will continue to do so over Christmas and into the New Year.”

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs has also contributed £100,000 to the Warm, Well and Connected programme.

Anyone in need of support should contact the Covid-19 Community Helpline, which is managed by Advice NI, freephone number 0808 802 0020. You can also get in touch by text: ACTION to 81025, or by completing a form on the Advice NI website. Further details will also be available through the programmes’ lead partners: councils; health trusts, charities and partnered community and voluntary groups.


Notes to editors: 

  1. Allocation of the £3.5m Access to Food budget is as follows: Council allocation including support for volunteering - £2.5m; Charities allocation including Fareshare, Saint Vincent De Paul, Salvation Army, Barnardo’s and Save the Children - £1m
  2. £3m for Warm, Well and Connected will be allocated to a number of regionally significant, networked voluntary organisations who will help deliver the necessary interventions including: Rural Support Networks, The Healthy Living Centre Alliance and Local Government.
  3. Media enquiries to DfC Press Office via e-mail:
  4. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.
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