Northern Ireland fund for small charities boosted by £130k

Small Grants fund will hand out more cash to help charities recruit volunteers

A fund to support volunteering among small organisations in Northern Ireland has been increased by £130,000 this year, Margaret Ritchie, social development minister in the Northern Ireland Executive, has announced

The Small Grants fund will hand out a total of £330,000 in 2009/10 in order to help organisations retain and recruit volunteers during the recession, Ritchie told a conference in Belfast this week.

The fund will be administered by a network of 15 volunteer centres in Northern Ireland on behalf of the Department for Social Development. Organisations can apply for grants of up to £1,100 each from their local centres.

Past recipients of funding include a playgroup and a forum for people aged over 50.

"At a time when many smaller organisations may be finding it difficult to raise funds and with increased demands being placed on their services, it is essential to provide support for them and their volunteers," said Ritchie.

"I want to encourage the growth of volunteering and provide new and better experiences for volunteers. I want us to create the conditions that enable volunteering to flourish. By providing a total of £330,000 in small grants to local organisations, DSD is ensuring they will be better placed to recruit new volunteers and support their existing ones."

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