Over £1million in additional Covid-19 support funding is being released to services funded through the Supporting People Programme across Northern Ireland.
Managed by the Housing Executive, on behalf of the Department for Communities, this immediate funding boost is the first tranche of an additional £10m in financial support for the sector, announced by the Minster for Communities in May.
Supporting People service providers assist almost 20,000 vulnerable, local people each year.
Many of these individuals have complex needs and could be deemed even more vulnerable during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Around £1.3m in immediate funding support has been allocated to the first batch of organisations that successfully applied for this new funding.
This will allow service providers to increase stocks of cleaning materials and other infection prevention measures, to recruit additional staff, to improve social distancing and defray potential loss of income from traditional fundraising activities.
Communities Minister Carál Ní Chuilín said:
“Supporting People providers must be commended for the way they have stepped up to the plate during this pandemic.
“They are providing support to some of the most vulnerable in our society and this funding, secured by Minister Hargey in May, demonstrates our commitment to maintaining the delivery of these vital services.”
Siobhan McCauley, Director of Regional Services at the Housing Executive, said:
“We very much welcome this additional funding allocated by the Minister for Communities and the NI Executive to support services delivered through the Supporting People Programme.
“We will ensure this vital new funding gets to successful applicants as quickly as possible.
“We know this has been a challenging time for service providers – and their staff who deliver life-changing support – and we also know that necessary improvements have brought increased expenditure which will continue to impact as Covid-19 unfolds.
“As well as through additional funding, we will continue to support these organisations through regular communications and close engagement.”
“All local Supporting People service providers should be commended for quickly delivering contingency planning for Covid19 – an absolutely unforeseen and unprecedented global event.
“We have witnessed the impact of this vital work, with relatively low levels of reported infection rates among service users.”
With an annual budget of £72.8m, the Supporting People Programme ensures vulnerable service users do not become homeless and are supported to live independent lives.
This also extends to service users receiving support to increase confidence and life-skills which, in practical terms, may mean providing assistance with managing finances, claiming benefits, accessing services or support with household duties in order to sustain a tenancy.
For more information on the Supporting People Programme, visit nihe.gov.uk/Working-With-Us/Supporting-people