Belfast Telegraph

Cuts force a review of Derry advisory body funding

By Brendan McDaid

A major review of advisory services is under way in Londonderry amid warnings that welfare reforms will plunge the city’s most deprived families into crisis.

The Welfare Reform Bill, set to be phased in over the next 18 months, was branded a “disgrace” at Derry City Council’s Development Committee.

It has now emerged that community-based services are expecting the number of people needing financial advice to swell to unprecedented levels.

The issue was raised during a presentation to the committee by staff from the Carnhill-based Resource Centre Derry (RCD).

RCD chief executive Betty Feeney called for an overhaul of public funding for the advice sector in light of already increasing pressure on resources.

“Our assistance from Derry City Council for the work we do does not suffice,” she said.

“We are pleading for you to go back and re-evaluate the amount of money put into organisations like ours.”

It emerged at the meeting that the multi-agency Advice Service Panel has met with council officers who are now re-examining funding for advisory bodies in the city.

The council’s director of development, Oonagh McGillion, said current procedures for providing assistance were designed a decade ago and a review of the system was now necessary.

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