Northern Ireland Executive launches £80m Social Investment Fund to reduce poverty

By David Ainsworth, Third Sector Online, 14 November 2012



Charities will advise steering groups on how the money should be allocated

The Northern Ireland Executive has launched an £80m fund aimed at reducing poverty and disadvantage, and is seeking views on how it should be spent.

The Social Investment Fund, which will run until 2015, has aims including supporting projects that reduce poverty and increase community services. It is being delivered in nine "social investment zones".

A steering group has been appointed in each zone with members from the government and the voluntary sector, which will develop and manage a plan for their zone.

Each steering group will work with consultants to identify areas within its zone that are eligible to seek funding, and to decide how money should be spent.

The zones cover the whole of Northern Ireland, but spending will be focused on areas where levels of deprivation are highest.

The fund will not make investments in charities and social enterprises, and charities will not be able to apply for grants, a spokesman for the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister told Third Sector.

But charities will be able to engage with steering groups to help them identify where money should be spent in their zones. It is anticipated that money will go to a mix of public and voluntary sector organisations.

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