The consultation on how funds from dormant accounts in Northern Ireland are spent has heard people say they want an approach which is flexible enough to meet the needs of small as well as larger organisations.
The consultation on dormant accounts funding began with events in October in Newtownabbey, Craigavon, Derry-Londonderry and Enniskillen, with over 300 people across all four events. In addition, the consultation, which was coordinated by The National Lottery Community Fund (TNLCF) who will distribute funding, held roundtables and received feedback from emails.
The TNLCF blog on the consultations reports that people have been telling them that one size doesn’t fit all and the change each individual organisation would make to become more sustainable and fit for the future might look different.
‘People also really value what they learn from each other – they’d like to reduce competition and see collaboration enabled, not enforced,’ according to the blog. Support networks have faced cuts and some would like to have collective resources or expertise to draw on which they might not necessarily be able to afford themselves, e.g. professional financial, HR, legal or governance advice, the blog reports.
While the Department of Finance which oversees the funding originally referred to support for social finance, the blog said the consultation heard some great examples of organisations which have benefited from existing loan funds which support voluntary organisations in Northern Ireland but a large proportion of the sector say they aren’t ready to access this type of social finance.
Some organisations say they don’t want to have to prioritise paying off a loan over their core purpose. Others say they don’t have the skills to understand the difference finance models which might help them realise their long-term goals.
In an earlier phase of the consultation there was a call for organisations to be supported to take time to consider options for diversifying their income and/or reducing reliance on public funding, ensuring all their work fits with their core purpose – rather than chasing project funding which can often lead to mission drift.
TNLCF say they will be analysing the findings and working on programme design this month. Around £16 million has accrued from dormant accounts in the past 10 years.
- Dormant accounts funding still elusive in Northern Ireland (12 July 2017)
- £7m dormant accounts funding for Northern Ireland (25 February 2016)
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