Charities working to alleviate poverty and loneliness in Northern Ireland are set to benefit from a £2.8m cash boost from the government.
The additional funding for councils, through the Covid-19 Community Support Fund, has been announced by the communities minister Deirdre Hargey.
Local authorities will distribute the funding to community and voluntary organisations working to tackle poverty by providing assistance to those on low incomes and at risk of financial stress during the pandemic.
It will also support people who need access to food and help connect those living alone or in rural and border areas who are likely to experience challenges in accessing services.
Hargey said: “Councils, through their community development programmes, will work with the department to direct the funding to those community sector organisations who are responding to need on the ground.”
Matt Garrett, president of the Northern Ireland Local Government Association and a Belfast councillor, said it was important that councils worked in partnership with communities during an “exceptionally challenging time”.
Charities in Northern Ireland still have until 21 January to apply for grants of up to £75,000 from an emergency £11.7m government fund announced at the end of last year.