Northern Ireland charities to share £57m support to replace EU funding

There have been protests over the delay in the announcement for Northern Ireland charities.

A £57million funding package has been allocated to charities and community groups in Northern Ireland facing a financial crisis due to a loss of European money.

Eighteen projects covering around 100 organisations across the region will receive backing through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) with a focus on helping support people into work.

The Government announcement came on the day financial support provided by the European Social Fund (ESF) comes to an end as a consequence of Brexit.

Some charities in Northern Ireland had warned they would have to cut staff numbers and support programmes if funding was not replaced.

The successful projects were selected after an open competition among organisations in Northern Ireland, while other groups will have been left disappointed.

There has been criticism from the community sector that the announcement was not made earlier.

Representatives of 1,000 community groups staged a demonstration in Belfast earlier this month to highlight the cash crisis.

Those Successful projects include:

  • Action Mental Health and six partners including Mencap, NOW Group and the Royal National Institute of Blind People will receive around £12million to deliver a programme of specialist employment preparation and training for over 4,500 people across Northern Ireland with significant disabilities or health conditions who face multiple barriers in accessing employment.

  • Triangle Housing Association and its partners will provide a wrap-around support for economically inactive people, including women, those with disabilities, neurodiversity, autism and/or mental health issues to move towards sustained employment. The project will benefit from almost £4.8million to support each person with holistic, wrap-around support through ongoing assessment and a personal development plan.

  • Network Personnel Limited, along with its partners, will receive around £2million for a partnership targeting economically inactive people through holistic interventions to increase their skills levels, move closer to mainstream provision, and take steps to secure sustainable employment or self-employment. Delivering across Mid Ulster, Mid and East Antrim, Antrim and Newtownabbey, Fermanagh and Omagh, Causeway Coast and Glens and Derry City and Strabane council areas, it plans to support over 1,300 people over the next two years.

  • The Northern Ireland Association for the Care and Rehabilitation of Offenders will receive over £1.5 million towards a project to support over 1,500 people across Northern Ireland with convictions in prison and the community to find sustainable employment over the next two years. Services will include one-to-one mentoring, employability support, advice and training.

  • Women's TEC and its partners will support women across Belfast and the rural Newry, Mourne and Down region, through their £872,000 ‘Building Futures’ project. The aim of the programme is to support women furthest from the labour market to feel confident, motivated and empowered to find and sustain employment, improving their confidence, self-efficacy, and life and work skills.

  • Extern Northern Ireland’s ‘Moving Forward Moving On’ project will receive £648,000 to provide intensive mentoring and employability support to young people in Belfast and Antrim and Newtownabbey who are furthest from the job market. It will include accredited courses in employability skills, life skills and personal development, as well as mentoring support and soft skills training .

Each organisation will receive a notification on Friday setting out any project conditions that they need to meet before funding will be released.

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