Hundreds Of Community Sector Jobs At Risk

Hundreds of community sector jobs could be at risk due to the failure of the Department of Social Development to approve funding for Neighbourhood Renewal schemes, the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action has warned.

An emergency meeting was held on Thursday to discuss the issues.

The schemes provide community services in deprived areas across Northern Ireland.

The NICVA Chief Executive, Seamus McAleavey, said about 150 groups were worried their projects would cease to exist. Many groups in Belfast are still waiting for funding.

Mr McAleavey said: “Certainly I’m getting a feeling of crisis because organisations are fearful, they see themselves going to the wall in terms of the services they provide.”

Patricia McKeown from public service union Unison said: “This is a scheme that was budgeted for, the money should be available.

“I don’t know what’s happening inside the department, but the trade union movement has a meeting with government at the highest level next week and this is going to feature as a key item on the agenda.

“It is a double hit, it’s vulnerable jobs in vulnerable communities and it’s the services inside the community as well.”