Bradshaw expresses concern over community group funding news

28Alliance MLA Paula Bradshaw has expressed concern at news grassroots community and voluntary groups are being asked to trim up to 15 per cent of their income from funding allocations.

The South Belfast MLA said the groups are being told to assess their projects to see where savings could be made from their funding from the Department for Communities. She said the political impasse was making things more difficult for the organisations.

“As someone who worked in the community and voluntary sector for 19 years before entering politics full-time, I am acutely aware of the year-on-year, contract after contract, request from funders to look for ways in which ‘fat could be removed’ from project, revenue or salary budget lines.

“The reality is the community and voluntary groups, delivering to the most deprived and vulnerable across Northern Ireland, really have nothing left to offer up by way of cost savings. On the contrary, utility costs are rising, the introduction of employers’ pensions contributions, and inflationary pressures on the cost of materials for project delivery have all contributed to this point where the amount of funding received does not even cover current costs, let alone reduced future allocations.

“Without a functioning Executive at Stormont to get to grips with the dire situation around the Budget and introduce measures to protect funding for frontline projects, it seems inconceivable valuable community groups will not have to drastically reduce what services and programmes they can deliver, or worse, close altogether.”

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