Voluntary body warns on looming job losses
At least 450 job losses are expected across Northern Ireland's community and voluntary sector over the next few weeks due to government budget cuts.
Umbrella group the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action (Nicva) said the scale of the impact was unprecedented.
Organisations working in education, the environment, arts and justice will fall victim of the austerity measures, Nicva said.
Chief executive Seamus McAleavey said: "The scale of the cuts being faced and the resulting jobs losses is unprecedented."
Nicva has requested an emergency meeting with the First and Deputy First Ministers.
Mr McAleavey said: "Skilled staff will be lost from our sector and the impact will be felt right across Northern Ireland with a loss of local walking routes, arts events and childcare facilities.
"Voluntary and community organisations provide highly specialised services in areas where government provision doesn't meet the needs of local people."