Belfast Telegraph

Third-sector projects in line for £16m boost thanks to new fund

Scheme: Sue Gray
Scheme: Sue Gray

By Lisa Smyth

A dormant account fund is to be established to support projects in the third sector.

Work to support resilience, capacity and sustainability in the sector will receive a £16m cash boost thanks to funds retrieved from dormant bank and building society accounts.

Department of Finance permanent secretary Sue Gray said: "Northern Ireland has a really strong third sector that is doing fantastic work and making a positive and meaningful impact on so many people's lives.

"A key principle of this £16m dormant account fund is that it will be used to fund services that would not normally attract public money, providing a real opportunity for a range of organisations, including community and voluntary groups and social enterprises, to access funding.

"I would really encourage the sector to bring forward their ideas to help shape the plans for this fund."

In May the department hosted events with a wide range of stakeholders from across the third sector to identify themes the fund should address.

The National Lottery Community Fund has been directed by the department to deliver the fund and will now further engage with the third sector to develop a strategic action plan for the scheme, which will open this financial year.

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Kate Beggs, The National Lottery Community Fund Northern Ireland director, said: "We are delighted to receive directions on dormant accounts from the department, which allow us to move forward with delivery.

"This will provide much-needed funds to increase capacity, resilience and sustainability in the third sector, supporting organisations that carry out vital work in communities across Northern Ireland."

Director of Social Enterprise Northern Ireland Colin Jess said the scheme would make a significant difference to social enterprises right across Northern Ireland by enabling them to continue with projects that benefit their communities.

Belfast Telegraph