First Minister, the Rt. Hon Arlene Foster and Communities Minister, Paul Givan, MLA have announced funding of £500,000 to support improvement works for Community Halls across Northern Ireland.
The funding will enable community organisations in urban and rural areas to undertake minor works and improvements to their premises.
First Minister Arlene Foster said: “Community Halls bring immeasurable benefits to the local community and this £500,000 funding will support groups across Northern Ireland to let them concentrate on enjoying the activities our community halls are designed for.
“These halls are used by many community and voluntary organisations to provide vital services and are a place for local people to come together and strengthen relationships. I welcome this funding that will make positive change to halls that are aged, in disrepair or have been damaged. I am confident it will improve the lives of people throughout Northern Ireland for years to come.”
Minister Givan said: “A Community Hall is much more than bricks and mortar for those who use them. They provide a gathering place where people can feel involved in their local community and supported in their lives.
“This pilot programme aims to alleviate some of the pressures on local community groups and will help to sustain and support these vital spaces.”
The Community Halls Minor Works pilot programme is intended to reach those groups and communities most in need and to make a difference and assist organisations which offer space and services to the benefit of the community.
Minister Givan continued: “I would encourage community organisations who fit the criteria to apply for funding for their projects. It is intended that this fund will make a practical difference to facilities and I hope that it will also provide evidence of need to underpin a wider reaching programme of support in the future.”
Individual awards of up to a maximum of £25,000 will be made to community organisations. Funding may be used for a range of small scale refurbishment works.
Priority will be given to applications:
- where there has been limited previous investment by central government, local councils or Lottery funds;
- are currently restricted in their use or underutilised because of disrepair;
- have been subject to recent criminal damage or result of anti-social behaviour;
- are located in areas where access to similar services is limited.
The Programme is now open for applications. Further information and applications are available at http://ow.ly/7buK305kadH
The closing date for applications is 23 November 2016 with funding to be distributed this financial year.