£80,000 being shared out to support the work of advice centres in Derry

Local groups have been a great help to many people during the pandemic

Advice North West Derry

Advice North West is one of the organisations involved in the initiative.

Just over £80,000 is being provided to support the work of three advice centres in Derry.

The funding of £80,085 has been awarded to Derry City and Strabane District Council Council through the Department for Communities' Covid-19 Financial Inclusion Partnership Fund.

Of the £80,085 allocated Advice North West has been awarded £57,796, Dove House in the Bogside will receive £11,935, while the Resource Centre Derry, which is based in Carnhill, will receive £2,330.

The balance of funding - £8,024 – will be used to pay for a marketing campaign to raise awareness of local advice centres.

Councillors on the council's Health and Community committee were told by Council's Head of Community Development and Leisure, Barry O'Hagan, at a meeting on Thursday that the support would assist in the development of a local programme which would help 'build financial resilience and improve overall financial well-being'.

Vice Chair of the Health and Community Committee, Cllr Raymond Barr, welcomed the additional support which he said would both acknowledge the vital role and increase the capacity of local advice service providers.

"The Financial Inclusion Fund will help support these agencies in providing essential advice and information and help alleviate the growing pressures on providers who have been working around the clock in recent months," he stressed.

"As a result of the current COVID-19 pandemic many people have experienced the harsh realities of redundancy, furlough, job insecurity and a reduction in working hours and are not aware of their basic employment rights and how to enforce them.

“Lots of people who have never had to rely on government support have had to enter the benefits system for the first time, relying on advice services to navigate the often complex pathways to support.

"Our advice service providers have been doing a remarkable job in the most difficult circumstances.

“This fund will make services even more accessible and, working closely with our Local Growth Partnerships, ensure the increase in demand can be met without putting additional stress on staff over the coming months."

Once awarded advice agencies will have the capacity to provide additional evening and Saturday opening hours as a result of the extra staff and resources.

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