The Department of Health has announced the allocation of more than £1.6m in the fourth and final round of grants from the Support for Carers Fund.
Following assessment, 35 organisations and charities providing vital support for carers across Northern Ireland are receiving £1,607,884 to help with a range of projects which will directly support individual carers in the community.
Grant recipients are working with adult and young carers and the activities being supported include mindfulness, wellbeing and emotional support, respite, support for social connection and digital inclusion.
The £4m Support for Carers Fund was launched by the former Health Minister in April 2021 to help community and voluntary sector organisations with charitable purposes offering support to carers. In total, 100 projects have received awards from the Fund.
Peter May, Permanent Secretary at the Department of Health, said: “Unpaid carers have a very challenging role and I have huge admiration for all they do in often difficult circumstances. The Health and Social Care system depends heavily on their selfless dedication to some of the most vulnerable people in our society. The Support for Carers Fund was established in 2021 with funding made available in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. A very wide range of valuable projects have received awards from the Fund and this has been important in helping to make a real and practical difference to peoples’ lives.”
The Fund is administered and managed by the Community Foundation NI on behalf of the Department and is now fully expended. It aims to provide grant funding to organisations with charitable status that can deliver outcomes to improve the lives and experiences of carers.
Róisín Wood, Chief Executive at the Community Foundation, said, "Carers play a crucial role in society, yet their contributions often go unnoticed despite being invaluable. Carers come from a range of backgrounds, including children, young people, and individuals who care for parents, partners, or friends of all ages. These carers face unique challenges and must juggle their caring responsibilities with school, work and other personal commitments.
“The Community Foundation takes pride in collaborating with the Department of Health to oversee the Support for Carers Fund which enables groups to extend much-needed support to these exceptional carers who make a substantial impact on society."
Notes to editors:
1. Grants in this round of the Support for Carers Fund have been made to the following organisations:
- Action Mental Health: £50,601 towards Mindful Carers project;
- AGE North Down & Ards (AGENDA): £68,550 towards support for carers and the cared for person;
- Barnardo’s NI: £69,218 for the Young Carers in Primary Schools project;
- Brooke House Health and Wellbeing Centre: £51,980 for the Cycle of Caring project delivering five nature therapy-based carer support programmes within Colebrooke Estate for carers from across NI;
- Cancer Lifeline: £39,263 towards the Caring for Carers project, delivering a monthly support group, support calls, health and wellbeing workshops, counselling, complementary and other therapies, and taxi transport for carers of people with cancer in North Belfast;
- Carers UK: £71,939 towards phase 2 of the Carers Poverty Commission project;
- Carers UK: £66,451 towards phase 2 of the Voice and Advocacy Project for Carers in NI;
- Caring Breaks: £74,397 towards the Weekend Break Programme, delivering 12 weekend respite breaks for adults with severe learning disabilities and their families, along with 8 respite day trips and 5 wellbeing events for family carers;
- Circle of Support for Autism Families: £54,621 towards wellbeing, mental health and information workshops for carers of autistic children in the North West;
- Clanrye Group: £66,532 towards respite activities, trips and workshops for carers in the Southern HSCT;
- Derg Valley Care Limited: £64,234 towards a support programme for rural carers;
- Disability Action: £75,000 towards counselling for carers of people with disabilities;
- Mae Murray Foundation: £70,528 towards a resource library project, enabling carers from across NI to borrow specialist adapted equipment.
- New Lodge Duncairn Community Health Partnership: £70,189 towards the Carer Support Partnership project, delivering enhanced support for family carers of children and young people with learning/physical disabilities in North Belfast;
- Parenting NI: £73,969 for the Carers Support Line project, enhancing current services via a freephone support line, online Webchat service, workshops, training and a peer support forum for parent carers across NI;
- Parkinson's UK: £29,112: towards the Parkinson's: Who Cares? project, a scoping and pilot support project for carers of people with Parkinson’s across NI;
- Recharge CIC (formerly Heart of the Dorn CIC): £74,905 towards the Recharge CIC Connecting Carers project, delivering structured therapeutic workshops and day and overnight retreats for carers across NI;
- SEN Space Care and Respite Services: £44,534 towards respite and support for families in crisis via family sessions, empowerment and respite sessions and a sibling space club in Lisburn and Belfast;
- SOLAS Special Needs Charity: £71,054 for the Fam Bam and Sibs Carer Support project, providing practical support and social activities for family carers including parents, guardians and younger sibling carers across Belfast;
- Special Educational Needs Advice Centre (SENAC): £74,423 towards the SEN Advice Service, providing advice and support with school learning issues for parents of children with disabilities and multiple and complex special needs across NI;
- The Happiness Café: £60,840 towards the Respite Care At Home For Unpaid Family Carers project, providing weekly respite for carers who are caring for people with dementia throughout Kilkeel, Ballymartin, Rostrevor, Warrenpoint, Newry, Bessbrook, Markethill and Newcastle;
- The O-Bon on the Foyle Festival Group: £60,290 towards the TaikoLove for Carers project, delivering 10 courses of taiko drumming classes and involvement in a community arts Japanese festival to carers in Londonderry & Strabane;
- UHub Therapy Centre C.I.C: £69,580 for the In touch with Autism project, providing one to one support, group activities and volunteering opportunities for carers of autistic children, teens and adults in North Down, Ards and East Belfast:
- Verbal Arts Centre: £50,040 towards the Life Story project, using literature to support adult carers in developing resilience and tackling depression, anxiety, and isolation via 72 workshops in Londonderry;
- Children's Heartbeat Trust: £9,950 towards advice service provision and peer support for carers and young carers of children with Congenital Heart Disease;
- Colin Neighbourhood Partnership: £6,745 towards the Colin Carers wellbeing project, providing a varied program of seasonal mental health and physical wellbeing activities and workshops for carers in Dunmurry;
- Downpatrick Autism Family Support Group: £9,975 towards the Lift Me Up project, providing a range of practical support sessions for carers in Downpatrick, Killough, Ardglass, Strangford, Crossgar, Killyleagh, Drumaness and Ballynahinch;
- Dungannon Multiple Sclerosis Support Group: £10,000 towards a course of mindfulness sessions for housebound carers;
- Forthspring Inter Community Group: £8,717 for the MUMO young carers project, delivering a pilot, holistic practical support programme for young carers in Belfast;
- Links Counselling Service Ltd: £10,000 towards counselling and group therapy support for carers of those with mental, physical and learning disabilities;
- Portadown Wellness Centre: £9,700 for the Support & Encouragement for Carers project, providing weekly support groups and education nights for carers at the organisation’s Wellness Centre in Portadown;
- Solas Moyle (trading as Solas Wellbeing): £8,947 towards a programme of support for carers of those with mental health issues;
- South Derry Downs Syndrome Group: £8,600 towards the Support and Thrive project, offering respite for parents/carers via an afterschool club, Saturday club, private speech therapy and educational workshops for children and young adults with Down’s Syndrome, also resilience, meditation, life coaching and a wellness day for their parents/carers in Mid Ulster;
- South Eastern Regional College (SERC): £10,000 towards a wellbeing room and activities for student carers;
- The Be Kind Project: £10,000 towards the Be Kind to your Mind project, providing practical and emotional support workshops for parents/carers of children with learning disabilities in Bangor.
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