Workers Party representative, Paddy Crossan, has called on the Communities Minister to announce an immediate and comprehensive package of financial support for the voluntary and charitable sectors here.
“Voluntary and charitable organisations play a vital and often life sustaining role in our society. Their work is affected by the Coronavirus pandemic in the same way as small businesses: they face many similar problems”. he said.
“I have written to Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey, and the Emergencies Leadership Group which she is heading up, calling on her to announce a package of measures to support the voluntary and charity sector through this crisis. We not only need their valuable work now; we also need to ensure that they will still be here when this emergency has passed”, Paddy said.
“Many, many people in the community are dependent on the support of voluntary and charitable organisations: the young the elderly, victims of domestic violence, refugees and asylum seekers, people with disabilities and those living with mental health problems. For many they are a safety net and a lifeline.
“In their battle for survival every day counts. The Minister must act immediately,” Paddy added.
I have asked her to address the following measures specifically as a first step to ensuring the survival of this vital support network.
- Extend support for small business to the voluntary / charitable sectors
- Ensure that all charities and voluntary organisations are eligible up to 80% of salaries for retained workers
- Set up a ‘stabilisation fund’ to help charities stay afloat during the pandemic
- Establish a loan guarantee scheme for charities needing overdraft facilities to cover cashflow problems
- Approaches the National Lottery to secure additional emergency funding
- An Emergency funding package for food banks to allow them to continue providing vital support