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Northern Ireland charities in line for over £10m as Chancellor announces coronavirus support scheme

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NI Secretary: Brandon Lewis

NI Secretary: Brandon Lewis

NI Secretary: Brandon Lewis

Charities in Northern Ireland are to get over £10million as part of a government support package, it has been announced.

Across the UK, charities struggling during the coronavirus pandemic will be given a £750m bailout to keep them afloat, the Chancellor said.

Rishi Sunak confirmed that charities, including those supporting domestic abuse victims and hospices, would receive cash grants to ensure they can meet increased demand as a result of the virus.

Some £360million from government departments will go to charities providing key services, while smaller ones will benefit from £370million, including through a grant to the National Lottery Community Fund.

Welcoming the news, Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis said: "I am delighted to announce that Northern Ireland charities will receive at least £10million under the Barnett formula as part of the multimillion-pound package of coronavirus funding unveiled by the Chancellor today.

"I encourage the Executive to use this funding to support vital organisations as they continue to provide key services at the heart of local communities during this challenging time.

"The charity sector delivers key support to the most vulnerable in our society, and this initiative will help to ensure that they can continue to assist those who are most in need."

The Government has also pledged to match the public's donations to the National Emergencies Trust, guaranteeing a minimum of £20million.

It will match whatever the public decides to donate to the BBC's Big Night In charity appeal on April 23.

Mr Sunak said: "Our charities are playing a crucial role in the national fight against coronavirus, supporting those who are most in need.

"It's right we do everything we can to help the sector during this difficult time, which is why we have announced this unprecedented £750million package of extra funding.

"This will ensure our key charities can continue to deliver the services that millions of people rely on."

Tens of thousands of charities are expected to benefit, including hospices, St John's Ambulance, vulnerable children and victims services and Citizen's Advice.

Announcing the funds for frontline charities at a Downing Street press conference, Mr Sunak said: "For them, shutting up shop at this moment would be to contravene their very purpose, their entire reason to exist.

"Those charities have never been more needed than they are now, and they have never faced such a sudden fall in their funding."

"At this time, when many are hurting and tired and confined, we need the gentleness of charities in our lives.

"It gives us hope, it makes us stronger and it reminds us we depend on each other."

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he was "delighted" that up to £200m would go towards hospices.

Mr Hancock added: "Hospices have suffered a huge challenge to their funding due to the outbreak of coronavirus, but at the same time they have continued to play a vital role in delivering compassionate, quality end-of-life care for many people."

Belfast Telegraph