Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Alarm at funding threat

An education facility working with women in Bangor and beyond is to begin a series of peaceful protests after “being blocked” from applying for the next round of Peace III funding.

Director of Kilcooley Women’s Centre Alison Blayney told the Community Telegraph: “This isn't happening in other peace III cluster areas, small community groups can apply for the next round as it is open to call.”

She said the reason given was that they did not have the ‘capacity to manage funding’ and claimed they were being blamed for North Down Borough Council’s monitoring faults.

“Kilcooley Women's Centre were granted Peace III funding in August 2009 from North Down Borough Council and the first training we received to manage the budget was November 2010 — right after a damning audit report issued from SEUPB which highlighted the council's monitoring failures.”

Councillor Austen Lennon was at the meeting last Friday (January 21) when the community groups met with the Town Clerk to discuss the problems.

“I believe it is a systematic failure of North Down Borough Council to monitor projects carried out by the ordinary people in the community — who, we have to remember, are not bureaucratic people,” he said.

A spokesperson from NDBC said the cluster supports 43 projects across the Ards, Down and North Down area and that all the funding will stop on March 31. “All the projects involved are aware of the date that their current funding runs until and that there is no absolute guarantee of further funding from Phase II.”

She said the Peace III Partnership had undertaken a consultation with community groups across all three council areas, arriving at the concensus that the funding carries a ‘significant administrative burden’.

An alternative method of delivering funding was being prioritised, she said.

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