9 Feb 2023
The Westminster government must live up to its promises and at a very minimum replace European structural funds that have been lost due to Brexit.
Key frontline services within the community and voluntary sector which provide vital support to local communities will be set to close or be drastically reduced as up to 1,700 staff from the community and voluntary sector are at risk with the loss of the European Social Fund.
That is the message coming from Róisín Wood, CEO of the Community Foundation who stated today:
“The community and voluntary sector in Northern Ireland is a life line for so many people and is embedded in our rural areas, our towns and our cities.
“The loss of the European Social Fund, a key driver behind so many valuable employability and skills programmes in the community and voluntary sector, will be a huge blow.
“Key frontline services, which provide vital support to local communities and some of the most vulnerable in our society, will undoubtedly close down or be drastically reduced as up to 1,700 staff from the sector are at risk of being made redundant.
“There were promises from the Conservative government that European structural funds, such as the European Social Fund, would be, at a minimum, matched. This is a promise that has so far fallen far short.
“There has been huge scepticism within the sector towards this commitment and in the meantime invaluable frontline services, staff, their livelihoods, and key skills within the sector are set to be lost.
“This comes at a time when we are in the depths of a cost-of living crisis, poverty is on the rise, and Stormont departments face a £500m cut.
“Whilst we have no government at Stormont, and promises from Westminster are not being kept, the Westminster government must address this shortfall before it is too late and our communities are left to pick up the cost of this failure for decades to come.”