Mr Michael Ring TD, the Minister for Rural and Community Development and Mr Seán Canney TD, Minister of State with responsibility for Community Development, have today (Friday, 8 May) announced the launch of a €40 million package of supports for Community and Voluntary Organisations, Charities and Social Enterprises.
A large number of these organisations are providing critical services to vulnerable individuals and groups in society arising from the COVID-19 crisis. Many of these organisations now find themselves in financial difficulty as fundraising efforts, commercial activities and other services they rely on have been curtailed due to the ongoing crisis.
The €40 million funding package is being made available through the Dormant Accounts Fund, which is specifically set aside to support initiatives which will benefit the most disadvantaged groups in society.
The package consists of:
A €35 million ‘COVID-19 Stability Fund’ which will provide a level of support to qualifying organisations who are most in need and have seen their trading and/or fundraising income drop significantly during the crisis; and
A €5m Government commitment to a Philanthropy Fund, (Innovate Together) which will focus on supporting responses to the COVID-19 crisis that require innovative and adaptive solutions to existing and emerging challenges.
Speaking about the funding package unveiled today, Minister Ring said:
“I am acutely aware of the impact of the current restrictions on the funding of charities, social enterprises and community and voluntary organisations and on the services they deliver to those most in need. I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their contribution to the inspiring community response to the current crisis.
“This significant funding package for the sector will help to assist these key organisations to weather the crisis and allow them to maintain their valuable services”.
The Minister continued:
“Today’s announcement shows that Government has heard the concerns of the sector and, despite the significant financial constraints we now face, we have worked creatively to deliver this significant response. The Stability Fund will be administered by Pobal in conjunction with my Department. However, it should be said that while the funding provided will be very welcome, Minister Canney and I recognise that significant challenges remain for community and voluntary groups and charities during this time. Government Departments and Agencies will continue to work closely with the sector in managing through these challenges over the coming months.”
The Minister concluded:
“Community and voluntary organisations, charities and social enterprises have played a very significant role in supporting vulnerable people in our communities over recent weeks, particularly in the context of the Government Community Call. I would like to commend them on that work, which I know is continuing.”
This new funding is being provided in addition to the more than €45 million in funding, announced last November, for the Dormant Accounts Action Plan 2020. That funding was allocated for 43 separate measures to be delivered across 9 Government Departments to benefit disadvantaged groups.
On foot of the unveiling of today’s funding package, Minister Canney stated:
“When the Dormant Accounts Fund was established, provision was made for supporting the most disadvantaged in our society with any available funds. This package being put in place today achieves exactly that, making sure that these funds are being put to the best possible use at a time of real need for many in society.”
Minister Canney continued:
“I wish to put on record my thanks to Social Innovation Fund Ireland, which will be administering the Innovate Together, Philanthropy Fund. By joining forces with the philanthropic community, not only will we leverage donations for this important initiative but we can also tap into the innovative experience and expertise which already exists in this sector.
“The new funding package announced today will ensure that the organisations assisting our most vulnerable groups can continue this important work so that people can get the help and support that they need during these most challenging of times.”
The funding package for these organisations is complementary to the range of other supports provided by the Government to support businesses, employers and employees on foot of the crisis.
Full details of the Philanthropy fund can be found here.
Full details of the Stability fund can be found here.