MID-ULSTER District Council has agreed a £400K package of support for the local community and voluntary sector in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
At its meeting on Thursday 26th March, the Council considered 4 measures to support community organsiations and the local volunteers who are providing support within their local communities.
• The 10 established foodbanks in the Mid Ulster region will receive a funding boost to ensure they are able to meet immediate need.
• Following confirmation of how the Department for Communities’ (DfC) proposed community fund will be structured, the Council will introduce a complimentary emergency grant scheme of its own.
• Monies from the Council’s strategic grants programme will be released immediately to ensure dozens of existing community organisations can continue to maintain their existing venues and services during the pandemic.
• AgeWell, the organisation which provides an essential ‘good morning’ call and befriending to 400 people, will receive direct support to allow expansion of its services as and when required.
Chair of the Council, Councillor Martin Kearney, welcomed the measures:
“In the worst of circumstances, we are seeing the best of people.
“Any expected surge in COVID-19 cases is being matched by the surge of community spirt across Mid-Ulster and beyond. As a Council, we are committed to ensuring our strong engagement with local communities, large and small, continues and that we respond practically to the circumstances on the ground.
“Alongside concentration of our efforts on delivery of our essential services, we are focussing energy on these immediate steps to help our community and voluntary sector to address identified need”.
The Council has emphasised that its support, and that of local volunteers and community organisations, does not replace the specific support being provided by the local health service to shielded clients and those who are clinically vulnerable who should continue to access their support via their health and social care professionals.