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Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — The Executive Office – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 2:15 pm on 7th November 2016.

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Photo of Alastair Ross Alastair Ross DUP 2:15 pm, 7th November 2016

I thank the Member for that, not least because it gives me an opportunity to thank Patrick Yu for his contribution over many years as the chairperson of NICEM. It is important to put on record the fact that NICEM has received a considerable amount of money since the minority ethnic development fund was conceived in 2001; in 2015-16 alone, the group received £90,000. Members will be aware that the minority ethnic development fund has become an increasingly competitive process. In 2016-17, there were 99 applications, of which 32 were successful, for a fund worth just over £1 million. NICEM made two applications, was advised that it had been unsuccessful and was given feedback on those applications.

I point out to the Member that, although NICEM has decided that it is no longer capable of continuing as an entity, we have seen many new groups emerge during that time. Those groups provide support to and reflect the needs of their members, not least in lobbying government and being a critical friend of government. I see more organisations being able to access funding than before, and I am confident that those organisations — not least through the racial equality subgroup — will make sure that their voice is heard and that they can work alongside government to address the needs of the people whom they represent.