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Small Grants Programme: Update

Oral Answers to Questions — Communities – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:15 pm on 15th November 2016.

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Photo of Declan McAleer Declan McAleer Sinn Féin 3:15 pm, 15th November 2016

T5. Mr McAleer asked the Minister for Communities for an update on the small grants capital pilot programme. (AQT 490/16-21)

Photo of Paul Givan Paul Givan DUP

If there is a specific area of the small grants capital programme that the Member wants to raise with me, I will be happy to look at it. In the general sense, I need a little more detail, unless the Member is lining me up for the sucker punch in his supplementary question.

Photo of Declan McAleer Declan McAleer Sinn Féin

No, Minister, I am not lining you up for a sucker punch, I assure you. I was just looking for an update on the level of interest and the number of applications, for example. My supplementary question is specifically on the issue of partnerships. One focus of the grant programme is partnership, and I am curious to know how that will be assessed. For example, should joint applications be made? By what means will that partnership be assessed? Will groups need to collaborate to apply?

Photo of Paul Givan Paul Givan DUP

I have had a bit more time now to collect my thoughts. The question relates to the £300,000 that is currently open for applications. That recognises the important work that a lot of our community-based organisations carry out. Applications can be made for sums of between £1,500 and £5,000. Obviously, the criteria include partnership. Those applications are open, and I say to groups that are interested that there is a dedicated resource that will be able to advise them on how to apply and on the criteria that they need to meet to receive that funding.

I engaged with a lot of our community-based organisations, and they highlighted the need for small capital equipment, whether it be sports equipment or even a lawnmower to cut grass at the facility used. Groups often find it very difficult to raise that type of money for such capital equipment. Therefore, we developed a scheme that, I believe, will be successful. If the Member knows of any groups that are interested in the scheme, support is available to guide people through the application process. I am confident that the scheme will again be one that is oversubscribed.