The Department of Finance has unveiled a new £16m community fund that has been financed from bank and building society accounts which have been untouched for 15 years.
Making the announcement, Permanent Secretary Sue Gray, said: “Northern Ireland has a really strong third sector that is doing fantastic work and making a positive and meaningful impact on so many people’s lives.
“A key principle of this £16 million Dormant Account Fund is that it will be used to fund services that would not normally attract public money – providing a real opportunity for a range of organisations including community and voluntary groups and social enterprises to access funding.”
In May, the Department hosted events with a wide range of stakeholders from across the third sector to identify themes the fund should address. The National Lottery Community Fund has been directed by the Department to develop a Strategic Action Plan for the scheme which will open this financial year.
Kate Beggs, The National Lottery Community Fund Northern Ireland Director, said: “We are delighted to receive directions on Dormant Accounts from the Department of Finance, which allow us now to move forward with delivery. This will provide much needed funds to increase capacity, resilience and sustainability in the third sector, supporting organisations that carry out vital work in communities across Northern Ireland.”
The news was also welcomed by Social Enterprise Northern Ireland and the NI Council for Voluntary Action.