‘Modernisation’ Funding For NI Community Groups

Voluntary and community groups have been invited to apply for a share of a £15 million fund being provided to help them modernise. Social Development Minister Margaret Ritchie said the aim of the Modernisation Fund was to help the voluntary sector prepare itself for the future.

Grants of between £20,000 and £1.5 million will be available and are designed to provide equipment and improve facilities. Urging groups to apply for funding, the minister said: “Voluntary and community groups have a key role to play in Northern Ireland and many of the most vulnerable people in our community rely on them for a range of services.

“I want to ensure that such groups have the best possible facilities and equipment and continue to provide a first class service with first class facilities.” Ms Ritchie added: “I see this fund as an excellent opportunity to reinvigorate the sector and equip it for whatever challenges lie ahead.

Society and the public sector are changing and the voluntary and community sector will have to adapt to changing circumstances.

“This investment will enable it to do so and help it continue to be a positive and progressive influence for the community throughout Northern Ireland. I know the sector has been eagerly awaiting the establishment of the fund and she looked forward to receiving their proposals.”

Seamus McAleavey, chief executive of NICVA welcomed the funding. He said: “These new monies have been eagerly awaited by the voluntary and community sector.

I look forward to seeing this considerable investment delivering positive changes that enable the sector to continue to provide much needed support to the people in Northern Ireland.”

The Modernisation Fund places a particular emphasis on providing equipment and facilities for young people in the most disadvantaged areas, helping to improve access to services for people with disabilities and enhancing the delivery of services.

Support is also available for large scale infrastructure projects which encourage collaboration and resource sharing as a model for modernisation.