Health Minister Simon Hamilton has announced that he will consult publicly on proposals for a new revenue grant scheme, which will be open to voluntary and community organisations operating in the health and social care sector.
The Minister said: "It is important at this time of financial pressure that we maximise the use of available resources and, at the same time, utilise the unique skills and experience of voluntary and community sector organisations.
"We will engage the sector in the design of the new grant scheme that will have innovation as a central theme and will deliver improved health and social care outcomes. We will consult on the proposals in the autumn of this year prior to its launch in 2016/17."
The new scheme will replace the Department’s existing core grant scheme, which provided £4.7million to 67 voluntary and community organisations in 2014/15 to help them with running costs. An additional £32.7million was provided to the 67 organisations by other Health and Social Care (HSC) bodies.
Speaking about existing scheme, the Minister said: "For a number of reasons, we need to make changes to how we core grant voluntary and community sector organisations. The existing core grant scheme will come to an end in March 2018. I want to minimise the impact on organisations and, as a result, core grant funding will be withdrawn over a three year period. Subject to satisfactory applications being received, organisations will receive their full allocations in this financial year. However, reductions will be applied in each of the following two years through to the closure of the scheme."
The Minister went on to say: "As the core grant scheme is being wound down, the new innovation scheme will be put in its place. We will involve the sector in the design of the scheme and I am confident that the sector will be able to deliver innovative solutions to deliver improved health and social care outcomes."
Notes to editors:
- In total, 67 community and voluntary organisations received £4.7million from the Department during 2014/15. The HSC bodies, Public Health Agency and Health and Social Care Trusts provide an additional £32.7million to these organisations, bringing the total they receive through grants and contracts to £37.4million out of an estimated £100million that the Third Sector as a whole receives from HSC organisations. The £4.7million represents circa 13% of the total income the 67 organisations receive from the HSC.
- A consultation will take place on the new Health and Social Care Innovation Fund in the autumn.
- Voluntary and community organisations were made aware of the probability of changes to their existing funding arrangements in their grant letter of offer issued in 2014/15.
- Media queries should be directed to DHSSPS Press Office on 028 9052 0505. Out of office hours, contact the duty press officer via pager number 07699745440 and your call will be returned.
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