Finance Minister, Conor Murphy has set updated policy directions for the future Dormant Assets Fund.
The Dormant Accounts Fund was established in January 2021 and is administered by The National Lottery Community Fund in line with Directions set by the Department of Finance.
The Fund will be extended under the Dormant Assets legislation which came into force earlier this year. It will see Northern Ireland benefit from an estimated £25 million of funding with the Dormant Accounts Fund becoming known as the Dormant Assets Fund.
Speaking following a visit to Air Ambulance NI which is benefitting from £100,000 funding from the Dormant Accounts Fund, Minister Murphy said:
“Social enterprises, community and voluntary organisations as well as charities like Air Ambulance are doing incredible work, making an immense difference and delivering vital services to local communities. Over £11.46 million of Dormant Accounts funding has been awarded to bolster the resilience, capacity and sustainability of 131 organisations.
“My Department has engaged with the voluntary, community and social enterprise sectors on the new Dormant Assets Fund. I have listened to their views and have set updated policy directions on the use of Dormant Assets.
"The new Fund will help further grow capacity within the third sector helping them to take advantage of the Scoring Social Value procurement policy which requires that social value makes up at least 10% of the scoring for government contracts. This 10% minimum is due to increase to 20% in June of next year subject to Executive agreement so it’s important that the third sector is equipped to take advantage of the policy.”
The Minister’s policy direction also supports digital transformation and collaborative bids.
Welcoming the directions for the Dormant Assets Fund, Kate Beggs NI Director of The National Lottery Community Fund added:
“We welcome this announcement from the Minister today about the future use of Dormant Assets in Northern Ireland.
“We’re pleased with the feedback received about the impact the funding has made so far on the sustainability and resilience of VCSE sector organisations. We look forward to developing the next phase of the Dormant Assets Fund to ensure that it continues to build a more sustainable future for the community and voluntary sector.”
Dr Gerard O’Hare CBE DL, Chairman, Air Ambulance NI added:
“The Dormant Accounts funding is unique in terms of helping build sustainability, for a young charity like Air Ambulance Northern Ireland just 5 years in operation, this is so important. The funding will enable us to transform our online and digital presence and develop long term income streams to ensure the service is here for generations to come.”
Dormant accounts are accounts where banks and buildings societies have been unable to trace the customer of accounts which have been untouched for 15 or more years.
The Dormant Assets Act 2022 (the Act) extended the definition of a Dormant Asset to include assets from insurance and pension schemes, investment and wealth management, and securities sectors. The scheme expansion has the potential to unlock an estimated £25-£30 million for Northern Ireland for social and environmental purposes.