Robin Swann MLA has called on Alliance’s Employment and Learning Minister “to speed up the process of getting much-needed European funding to groups within the constituency”.
Mr Swann said: “Voluntary and community organisations have staff on notice, programmes on hold and participants at this minute who do not known where they are going. Can the Minister provide additional detail on the appeal process for phase 1 and phase 2? Will the appeals be available solely on process, or will organisations be able to supply additional or supplementary information? Is the Minister still as confident that this process is not open to legal challenge?” said Mr Swann.
Responding to Mr Swann, Minister Farry noted: “If we find a situation where groups are uncertain of funding or of the ability of participants to continue, that is, regrettably, a product of the fact that we are going through a competitive process in relation to European funding. Groups should have been clearly aware that the current programme was coming to an end on 31 March and that there would be a fresh process for the next round of ESF funding. Sadly, it is part and parcel of the process that groups will have to place staff on protective notice,” the Minister told Mr Swann.
Mr Swann added: “Jobs and services are at stake here, so it is absolutely vital that the Minister do all in his power to ensure that this European funding makes its way to groups in North Antrim.”