Claire Sugden has called on the government to do more to support the community and voluntary sector after being informed of cuts to the funding of Causeway Volunteer Centre.
Ms Sugden said : “Last week I was contacted by Causeway Volunteer Centre. They are facing a further cut of 5.7% to their core funding. This represents a total cut of 40% since 2011.
They are struggling to provide services. Their work to recruit volunteers and provide information, training and equipment are just a few of the ways in which they support many other voluntary organisations.
I raised this issue with the Social Development Minister this week. It is not good enough to try to justify it by talking about Departmental cuts. We are pulling the rug from beneath ourselves by making cuts to the community and voluntary sector. If we included them in our public sector we would make great savings.
I appreciate the Minister agreeing with me on their importance. However, there is little evidence of a commitment to supporting them. Tying up loose ends by making short term cuts to organisations like the Causeway Volunteer Centre is detrimental in the long term.
Last week I questioned the Health Minister, his party colleague, about the role of the community and voluntary sectors. I was pleased that he recognised the benefits of using their services. I urge the Social Development Minister to show his commitment to supporting this vital sector and the organisations which so often plug the gaps in our public services.”