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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Health Minister announces £900,000 funding awarded to support carers

Health Minister Robin Swann pictured at Advice NI with (L-R) Róisín Wood, Chief Executive at the Community Foundation; Bob Stronge, CEO at Advice NI and Richie Finlay, Chair of Special Education Needs Authority (SENAC).

Health Minister Robin Swann has announced the allocation of nearly £900,000 in the third round of grants from the Support for Carers Fund.

Following assessment, 27 organisations and charities providing vital support for carers across Northern Ireland are receiving £897,221 to help with a range of projects which will directly support individual carers on the ground.

The Health Minister today visited two of the organisations that are set to benefit from this latest round of funding.

Speaking after visiting Advice NI and Newington Day Centre, Minister Swann said:

“I appreciate that the role of unpaid carers can be very challenging and that this was particularly the case during the pandemic. That’s why establishing this fund and providing much needed help and support for carers was a priority for me. The Support for Carers Fund has now awarded around £2.5million in funding which should help make a real and practical difference to people’s lives.”

The Minister continued:

“It is my hope that projects such as the ones I've had the privilege of visiting today will help to bring about a sustained improvement in the lives and experiences of individual carers.”

The funding was made available in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to support carers, cancer charities and mental health organisations.

Advice NI, headquartered in South Belfast but with services across Northern Ireland will receive £74,858 for their ‘Rights for Carers - Digital’ project. Advice NI in partnership with the Special Education Needs Authority (SENAC) plan to support carers of children with learning difficulties to become more digitally included enabling them to engage with policy and decision makers and to access their rights and entitlements.

Bob Stronge, CEO at Advice NI said:

“We are delighted to be working in partnership with SENAC to support carers to learn the digital skills to go online safely and to access their rights and entitlements. And particularly during a cost of living crisis – it’s important that carers are accessing all the support that’s available to them.”

Health Minister Robin Swann pictured at Newington Day Centre with (L-R) Siobhan Barronwell, Chairperson of Newington Day Centre; Róisín Wood, Chief Executive at the Community Foundation and Margaret McCrudden, Manager at Newington Day Centre.

Newington Day Centre, based in North Belfast has provided care to older people in the local community for over 30 years. The day centre has been awarded £70,470 towards the development of a Carers Respite service. The funding will support Saturday day care twice a month, provide a new community ‘meet and eat’ group and additional drop-in support for carers in Belfast.

Margaret McCrudden, Manager at Newington Day Centre said:

“I would like to thank Minister Swann for visiting our day centre today. This grant will enable us to provide much needed respite at the weekend for carers in our local community.”

The Fund is administered and managed by the Community Foundation NI on behalf of the Department and aims to provide grant funding to organisations with charitable status that can deliver outcomes to improve the lives and experiences of carers.

Róisín Wood, Chief Executive at the Community Foundation said:

“Carers provide such an important role in society, but it often goes unnoticed but remains invaluable. Carers range from children and young people, to those caring for parents of every age, partners and sometimes friends. All of these carers have different needs and often have to balance their caring duties with school or work. We are proud to be working with the Department of Health to administer the Carers Support Fund, enabling groups to offer support and respite to these carers who contribute such a huge amount to society."

Grants in this round of the Support for Carers Fund have been made to the following organisations:

  • Advice NI: £74,858 towards the Rights for Carers Digital project, supporting the digital inclusion needs of carers of children with learning difficulties across NI.

  • BeKind Kids Club: £10,000 towards the BeKind to your Mind project, providing practical and emotional support workshops for Parents/Carers of children with learning disabilities in Bangor.

  • Bolster Community (prev. Space NI supporting people and community enterprise) £75,000 towards the Your SPACE- (Supporting Parents and Children Everyday) project, delivering respite and play and evidence based training initiatives for carers in Newry, South Armagh, South Down and Armagh.

  • Carers UK: £75,000 towards the establishment of a Carers Poverty Commission in NI.

  • Carers Unite Carers Support Group: £3,080 towards the ‘Craft, Create and Chat’ programme of activities for 10 carers.

  • Centre for Health and Well Being: £9,900 towards Recovery for Carers project

  • Clanrye Group: £9,550 towards the Carers First 12 week activity programme for carers in the Southern Trust area.

  • Drumgath Ladies Group: £10,000 towards the Supporting all Carers project, providing an information, social and wellbeing programme for carers in Rathfriland.

  • FOCUS Omagh: £72,582 towards the We Care support programme in Omagh.

  • Friendly Care Group Termonmaguirc: £10,000 towards the Building our mind, body and brains project, a community-based health and wellbeing programme for carers in Carrickmore.

  • Garvagh Development Trust: £10,000 towards a forest respite programme for 20 families in the Causeway area.

  • Helping Hands Autism Support Group: £9,830 towards a direct carers' support programme and also development of a new ‘young carers’ group for those caring for others with autism in Dundonald and the wider North Down area.

  • Links Counselling Service Ltd.: £59,580 towards the FREed Programme - supporting the carers of those with eating disorders in Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon.

  • Lislea Community Association: £9,964 towards weekly parent/carer support sessions

  • Mainstay DRP: £29,887 towards the give my head space project for older carers in the Downpatrick area.

  • Mid & East Antrim Agewell Partnership: £75,000 towards the Creases for Carers project, providing a professional ironing service with door-to-door delivery for older carers in Ballymena, Carrickfergus and Larne.

  • Newington Day Centre: £70,470 towards development of Newington Carers Respite service, providing Saturday day care, a new community ‘meet and eat’ group and additional drop-in support for carers in Belfast.

  • Portadown Wellness Centre: £9,900 towards the Caring for our Carers project, delivering counselling services and therapeutic activities including yoga and arts and crafts, cookery, sewing and fashion classes for carers in Portadown.

  • Positive Futures: £8,804 towards a programme of activities for adult and young sibling carers.

  • Praxis Care:  £75,000 towards delivery of the Carers of People Living with Dementia Support Project in Newtownabbey, Lisburn, Coleraine, Derry, Lisnaskea.

  • Recharge CIC (formerly Heart of the Dorn CIC): £9,740 towards the “Prioritising Carers” project, delivering pop up workshops and events for carers within the Ards Peninsula.

  • SEN Space Care and Respite Services: £10,000 towards a rolling programme of parent and sibling support sessions.

  • SOLAS Special Needs Charity: £69,284 towards a programme of Advocacy and in-home support for carers of children and young people with moderate to severe disabilities.

  • Tamnamore Community Development Association: £9,930 towards the “WE know better” project, providing an education, social and interactive activities programme for carers in Tamnamore.

  • The Fitzone Foundation: £4,900 towards a weekly drop-in session for carers and regular outings.

  • The Pink Ladies Cancer Support Group: £74,982 towards a cancer carers support programme in the North West.

  • Urban Community Chef CIC: £9,980 towards the AffordABLE Menu Masterclasses project for unpaid carers across the Ards Peninsula and North Down.


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