Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey MLA has released £1.5m to local councils as she steps up her Department’s efforts to help citizens get safely through the COVID-19 health crisis.
The money will come from the COVID-19 Community Support Fund to target need and alleviate poverty.
The Minister pledged her continuing commitment to do all that she can to ensure that our society gets safely through this crisis and is in line with her priorities on poverty, targeting objective need and embedding a rights based approach.
“I recognize Councils have a unique community insight and reach at grass roots level and are well placed to ensure that citizens receive much needed help. This money will provide (a) assistance to those at risk due to financial stress; (b) ensuring access to food for those most in need and (c) to help connect those living alone or in in rural and border areas that are likely to experience greater challenges in accessing services. This £1.5m is an initial tranche of money, and more will follow.”
The Minister paid tribute to the work of the voluntary and community sector whose role in society has never been more needed.
“I am heartened but not surprised by the tireless dedication and commitment of people from all walk of life who have stepped forward to help our vulnerable citizens with deliveries of food and medicine so that they can remain safely in their homes. Over the coming weeks we will all rely on this selfless commitment of many volunteers as our local councils continue to work with the sector to ensure that helps gets to where it is most needed.”
The Minister also said that she was listening to pleas for financial help from grass roots organisations who are working with vulnerable people and that she was looking at a wide range of ways to support them.
Notes to editors:
- £1.5m initially has been distributed to 11 councils based on population size and deprivation statistics.
- This is the first tranche of funding to be allocated, and the impact will be evaluated in May to inform future need and how best to distribute additional funds.
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