Communities Minister Carál Ní Chuilín has welcomed the Executive’s allocation of a further £17million to bolster the sports, social enterprise and charities sectors as they continue to respond to the challenges of Covid-19.
In addition, the 11 local councils will receive a further £10m, bringing their total allocation since the start of the crisis to over £85m.
The funding breakdown is as follows:
- £10m for the Sports Sustainability Fund
- £5m for the Covid-19 Charities Fund
- £2.25m for the Social Enterprise Fund
Minister Ní Chuilín commented:
“I want to thank my Executive colleagues for considering the bids I submitted. This crucial funding will allow my Department to continue to provide essential support to the most vulnerable in our society.
“Councils have faced significant financial challenges as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and continued financial support from the Executive to alleviate these losses is critical to ensuring councils can positively contribute to local economic, social and environmental recovery. In addition councils will be appointing Covid-19 ambassadors to ensure the regulations are adhered to and will also be providing assistance with the revitalisation of town centres.”
Referring to the £10m allocation for the Sports Sustainability Fund, the Minister said:
“The sports sector has suffered a significant blow as a result of the initial lockdown and further restrictions. It is having to deal with reduced membership subscriptions, limited or no gate receipts, reduced sponsorship, the cancellation of events and disruption to income generating activities. This funding, in addition to the £15m announced last month, will go some way to safeguarding the sector, which makes a major contribution to the lives of individuals and communities – and will have a key role to play as we emerge from this crisis. I am determined that this funding gets out to those individuals, clubs and governing bodies at the earliest opportunity.”
The £7m Social Enterprise Fund that closed at the end of October 2020 was heavily oversubscribed. Thanks to the additional £2.25m Executive allocation, the remaining applications which met the criteria and were approved in principle, can now be processed.
Minister Ní Chuilín explained:
“I am delighted that social enterprises whose ability to trade has been impacted in recent months, will now receive funding support to enable them to protect jobs and services at the heart of our communities.”
A further round of the Covid-19 Charities Fund will be opened to applications from charities impacted by the pandemic.
Commenting on the £11.7m fund, full details of which will be announced in December, the Minister said:
“This additional funding will provide vital support to charities whose fundraising and trading has stopped or been curtailed because of this pandemic. The Covid-19 Charities Fund has a remaining budget of £6.7m which will be increased by £5m to £11.7m to ensure charities are supported.”
Notes to editors:
- Council funding: £15m was previously announced on 30 October 2020 following £40m and £20.3m on 24 September 2020 and 19 May 2020 respectively.
- The allocation to each council area will be confirmed as soon as possible.
- Sports funding: £15m was previously announced on 29 October 2020. A £1m Covid Safe Sports Packs Fund opened on 21 September 2020.The Sports Hardship Fund has previously received more than £2m funding.
- Social Enterprise funding: The £7m Social Enterprise Fund opened on 28 September 2020.
- Charities funding: The first phase of the £15.5m Covid-19 Charities Fund ran from 15 June 2020 to 10 July 2020. The second phase opened for applications on 3 August 2020 for three weeks. A total of £8.8m support was provided.
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