To help with the rising costs of gas, oil and electricity, a £1,500 energy payment has been issued to more than 150 Voluntary and Community funded organisations which deliver key services, Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey has announced.
Minister Hargey visited three of the organisations who have received the funding – Advice NI, Cookstown-based Northern Ireland Rural Women’s Network and Streetbeat, which provides services for 11-18 year olds living in an area of high social deprivation in Belfast.
During the visit to Streetbeat, a youth project in Shankill Neighbourhood Renewal Partnership area, Minister Hargey explained:
“The rising costs of gas, oil and electricity have been highlighted by Voluntary and Community organisations as a major issue which may negatively impact on the vital services.
“The unprecedented rise in energy costs has affected these organisations so I am pleased that my department has been able to ease that burden for some.
“I have witnessed the excellent work on the ground that organisations like Streetbeat, Advice NI and Rural Women’s Network deliver. I wanted to talk with staff to hear about the current pressures and issues that people are facing and to assure organisations like these that I am listening, and will do all in my power to help them at this difficult time.
“Unfortunately, due to constrained budget availability in the absence of a functioning Executive, it has not been possible at this time to provide all Voluntary and Community funded organisations with a contribution towards energy costs. Instead, departments are operating within contingency planning envelopes based on the previous year’s allocations.”
Other organisations benefitting from the one-off energy payment include groups working with the elderly, homeless, children, women and those which provide advice, employment, wellbeing, education and support services.