Small Capital Grants Scheme

Oral Answers to Questions — Communities – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 2:30 pm on 24th January 2017.

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Photo of Emma Little Pengelly Emma Little Pengelly DUP 2:30 pm, 24th January 2017

Minister, you will be aware of the very good work that many thousands of small community organisations do across Northern Ireland. I know that you have been very supportive of those and have been out to see many of them. Those organisations have a significant number of volunteers, and they apply for small grants, for example. I am aware that your Department has a small capital grants scheme at the moment.

Photo of Emma Little Pengelly Emma Little Pengelly DUP

T6. Mrs Little Pengelly asked the Minister for Communities whether there is any intention to have a further release of successful applicants from the small capital grants scheme this week. (AQT 691/16-21)

Photo of Paul Givan Paul Givan DUP

I know from being out with community groups, as the Member indicated, that raising the capital needed for very small pieces of equipment presents a real challenge to a lot of the smaller organisations. A scheme was announced, and applications were made to it. I hope to be in a position in the next 24 hours to authorise the letters of offer to be sent out to the organisations that have been successful in the scheme.

Photo of Emma Little Pengelly Emma Little Pengelly DUP

I thank the Minister for that response. He will be aware of some very good organisations, not least in my constituency, such as the Annadale and Haywood association and the Ballynafeigh community organisation. Across South Belfast, we have many great organisations. Some of those organisations applied to your Department's capital grant scheme, but, unfortunately, some were not able to do that within the timescale. Are there plans in the Department to reopen the scheme to applications next year? It was a successful and much sought-after scheme.

Photo of Paul Givan Paul Givan DUP

The number of applications demonstrates the enthusiasm that exists. That is a scheme that any Minister would want to take forward, given its success and the demand for it. A £300,000 budget was identified for the small-scale capital equipment scheme, and we hope to announce the successful applicants, who, again, will be representative across the community. Let me put it on the record once more: I was not involved in the assessment of it, and I do not know who the successful applicants are. I will be advised of that when the groups are advised of it.