The SDLP’s South Down MLA Colin McGrath has called for the Department for Communities to launch a funding stream for community centres.
Commenting the South Down MLA said: “Having received queries from groups across the constituency, I have been making urgent representations to the Executive Office and the Department for Communities regarding the need for funding to be made available for local charities. This will help ensure that the funding goes to the people who need it most who are working on the ground with some of the most vulnerable in our society.
“These charities do so in community led and innovative ways and I think it is only right that government support them at this very difficult time.
“All across the north at present we are seeing countless voluntary organisations taking the lead and delivering much needed relief for so many. This is work which more often than not does not get the recognition that it deserves and goes unnoticed to a large extent.
“That is part of the noble work of volunteers and I cannot commend them more highly for their tireless activism. However, the very least which we in government can do is to make life that bit easier for them and provide essential funding for their community groups and in particular the community centres.
“These are very often the very beating heart of a local community and if their future was in any way in question this would have most serious ramifications for the wider community.
“When this pandemic has passed – and it will pass eventually – and we pick up the pieces of the world before and start afresh the work of these community led and directed charities will be greater and more important than ever.”
Mr McGrath added: “We need to protect them and support their future existence. I urge any community group who is struggling at this time to please get in touch with me to see what support can be offered.”