The programmes will be delivered in partnership with local councils, health trusts, charities and the community and voluntary sector, to ensure support is directed swiftly to those most in need.
£3m of the funding focused on the new Warm, Well and Connected programme and will be allocated to a number of regionally significant, networked voluntary organisations who will help deliver the necessary interventions including: Rural Support Networks, The Healthy Living Centre Alliance, both of which OFRA is a member, and Local Government.
The Minister said: “Throughout this pandemic my priority has been to help those most in need. These additional allocations will allow me to continue to do that as people face the added financial and emotional pressures of Christmas and the New Year.
“This additional funding will help provide access to food, access to support around period poverty and will help to keep people ‘warm, well and connected’ at a particularly difficult time of the year. It will be directly targeted at the most vulnerable, including children and young people; carers; older people; people living with a disability; and anyone who has lost income as a result of Covid-19.
“I am acutely aware of the detrimental impact the pandemic has had on people’s emotional and physical wellbeing, so addressing loneliness and isolation, emotional wellbeing and financial hardship relating to household bills, is a key focus of this support.”
Minister Ní Chuilín continued: “My Department will continue to work with all relevant stakeholders to ensure we get support to those people to address their most basic needs.
“I want to pay tribute to the many organisations and individual volunteers who have been working tirelessly to support our communities and will continue to do so over Christmas and into the New Year.”
The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs has also contributed £100,000 to the Warm, Well and Connected programme.
Anyone in need of support should contact the Covid-19 Community Helpline, which is managed by Advice NI, freephone number 0808 802 0020. You can also get in touch by email: firstname.lastname@example.org: text: ACTION to 81025, or by completing a form on the Advice NI website(external link opens in a new window / tab). Further details will also be available through the programmes’ lead partners: councils; health trusts, charities and partnered community and voluntary groups.
As course, online events, training and more become available as part of the new WWC programme you will find details in our ‘News & Events‘ section and our new dedicated WWC page where you will be able to register for courses.