The income of the Northern Ireland voluntary sector has dropped by 10 per cent since 2001, according to new research.
State of the Sector IV, published on Monday by umbrella body the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action, shows that charities in the province have suffered a £72.9m cut in revenue in the past four years. Investment income recorded the biggest fall - of 72 per cent in real terms.
The research says there are approximately 4,500 voluntary and community organisations in Northern Ireland.
Researchers say the sector in Northern Ireland is largely "self-contained", because only one in eight of its charities is controlled from outside the country.
A survey of public attitudes that formed part of the research revealed that the proportion of those who believe "people have the opportunity to represent themselves through voluntary organisation" has drop- ped by nearly 10 percentage points since 2001.