Social Investment Fund

Part of Oral Answers to Questions – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 2:00 pm on 12th May 2014.

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Photo of Jennifer McCann Jennifer McCann Sinn Féin 2:00 pm, 12th May 2014

With your permission, Mr Speaker, I will answer questions 2 and 3 together.

On 10 February, the First Minister and deputy First Minister announced that £33 million would be invested in 23 projects aimed at tackling poverty and deprivation through improved community-based services and facilities.  These first 23 projects were identified as priorities by the steering group in each local area plan across the nine social investment fund (SIF) zones.  Officials are working with lead partners to agree the letters of offer for these projects and further arrangements for their delivery.  To this end, on 10 March, a conference for all lead partners was held, which provided a platform to move forward.  Following agreement of letters of offer, lead partners will take forward the necessary procurement to deliver the outcomes described in the project proposals that have been approved.

We are keen to ensure that projects are fully established and under way as soon as possible.  Officials are working to ensure that this is the case.  A further 29 projects have been identified as being within the limits of affordability in line with the budget allocations for each zone.  Work is ongoing to secure business case approval for these.  Subject to this and final costings, we hope to announce further projects later this year. 

Details of the 23 projects announced and the further 29 projects prioritised for funding within the budget are available on the OFMDFM website.  We would also like to assure Members that the £80 million remains ring-fenced for the delivery of the social investment fund.  It is our intention that this will be fully allocated to projects by the end of this year.