Written Answers. - Voluntary Sector.

Nora Owen

Question:

159 Mrs. Owen asked the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs the grants that have been made available out of the £7 million grant recently announced for the voluntary sector; when this money will be available; if he will give a detailed breakdown of the exact sectors which will be receiving this money; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20397/00]

As announced in Supporting Voluntary Activity: A White Paper on a Framework for Supporting Voluntary Activity and for Developing the Relationship between the State and the Community and Voluntary Sector, which the Government published recently, an additional £7 million is being provided to enhance the capacity of the sector to organise itself at national level, to foster the development of additional support and training within the sector and to further support volunteering. This additional funding will come on stream in 2001.

A detailed breakdown of how this additional funding is allocated is contained in the White Paper and summarised in the attached Table.

The additional funding is intended to enhance the capacity and structures of the community and voluntary sector as a sector and as a social partner. I might also make the point that substantial additional resources are also being put into the day-to-day work of the sector. Total funding being spent in support of community and voluntary groups has increased from £487 million in 1996 to almost £1 billion in 1999. The amount of money we are allocating to community development, social services, sport etc. has more than doubled since this Government came to office. It will further increase substantially over the life-time of the National Development Plan 2000-2006.

TABLE

Additional funding announced in the White Paper

Purpose

Amount

National anti-poverty networks.

£0.6 million

Additional funding for national anti-poverty networks funded via the Combat Poverty Agency, to bring total funding to £1 million per annum.

Other national federations and representative bodies.

£2 million

Additional annual funding for national representative bodies in other segments of the community and voluntary sector, e.g. health and social services, education and youth.

Community and voluntary sector training and supports.

£2 million

Additional annual funding, within the existing Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs community development programmes, is being provided to develop the availability of technical support services and training for community and voluntary bodies from within the community and voluntary sector itself.

Support for community and voluntary fora.

£1 million

The fora were established as part of the process of setting up the county development boards to nominate and provide on-going support to the community and voluntary sector representatives on those boards. The fora also have the potential to facilitate an interface with a wide range of State bodies outside of the local government area. The Government is making this additional annual funding available so that this potential can be developed.

Purpose

Amount

Research Programme.

£0.4 million

Which will include quantifying the full extent of community and voluntary activity and the sector's contribution to the economy and employment, as well as research on specific issues relevant to the follow-up to the White Paper. The research programme will be carried out over a 12 to 24 month period.

Support for Volunteering.

£1 million

Next year, 2001, is UN International Year of Volunteers. A national committee on volunteering is being established under the terms of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness. It, with representation from all relevant interests and stakeholders, will devise strategies and actions for supporting and developing volunteering, not just during the international year, but for the longer term. This initial allocation of funding will support the committee's activities during the year and the development of long-term plans and actions.