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CORONAVIRUS LATEST: Charities and social enterprises ‘need urgent help’, says Derry MLA

'Charities and social enterprises sit at the heart of our society and of the economy of Northern Ireland'

CORONAVIRUS LATEST: Charities and social enterprises ‘need urgent help’, says Derry MLA

Charities and social enterprises need urgent assistance if they are to survive the Covid-19 crisis, warns SDLP economy spokesperson Sinead McLaughlin MLA.

“Charities and social enterprises sit at the heart of our society and of the economy of Northern Ireland,” says Sinead McLaughlin. “We need them even more today than ever, with the social crisis that has accompanied the health crisis.

“Yet many charities are in dire distress. One local charity has told us it is losing around £15,000 a month in revenues, through the loss of commercial income, donations and sponsorship. These are charities that we rely on. According to the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, charities across the UK stand to lose £4.3bn from the coronavirus crisis. Charities and social enterprises here say they are receiving less support than their equivalents in Great Britain.

“I am calling for the Northern Ireland Executive to put in place emergency measures to ensure the survival of our charities. Although the UK government has made a £750m commitment to support charities, we have been told by charities that there is a lack of clarity around eligibility for support, with many fearing they will not receive money – or will not receive it in time to survive.

“This is the time when we have to support those charities that support us all. They provide a wide range of essential services, including assisting the elderly in their own homes, mental health care, support for victims of domestic abuse and to strengthen community relations. We cannot allow the continuation of these services to be put at risk.

 “I have written to the finance and communities ministers to urge them to take urgent action.”

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