My Department operates a number of schemes that provides small-scale financial grants and supports to community groups and organisations, these include the Community Enhancement Programme and the CLÁR Programme. The application processes for these programmes are reviewed before each call for applications to ensure they are user friendly and fit for purpose.
I know that there are some groups or community organisations that may not have considered seeking funding because they don’t have the experience of submitting funding applications or lack understanding of the criteria in place. To help these groups, my Department held a series of six 'Helping Hands' events nationwide earlier this year, to make groups more aware of funding programmes, and to provide practical guidance on making applications. These events provided hints and tips on how to make a better funding application and how to identify local supports that community groups can draw upon.
The response to these events has been overwhelmingly positive and my hope is that individuals and communities will be encouraged to take their own ideas or projects forward. These events and other ongoing measures will ensure that our funding has the broadest possible reach and that all eligible groups have the opportunity to access available supports.