I will start by paying particular tribute to the work that family resource centres have been providing since the outbreak of Covid-19. I was pleased to see some very effective and innovative work undertaken by them in that time. Recently, I met the family resource centre national forum again, and it described at first-hand the surge in demand for these services, and how the centres have responded. I deeply admire their commitment and dedication to their local communities.
Tusla provides core budget funding for 121 family resource centres throughout the country to provide family support and build the capacity of disadvantaged communities. This funding enables communities to develop strategies in response to social problems and to leverage access to other funding opportunities. With the core funding provided by Tusla, family resource centres draw down significant additional funding for their communities from non-Tusla sources.
It is important that family resource centres access a range of funding sources, as much of their diverse work intersects with the remits of bodies such as the Department of Social Protection, the Department of Rural and Community Development, local authorities and the HSE. Some family resource centres have also secured supports from non-governmental bodies and cross-Border funding. I encourage them to seek these supports, where possible.
I accept that the process of securing diversified funding streams can be resource intensive but it is also important to account fully for State funding. I am in favour of any measure that could be put in place to reduce the administration burden on local community and voluntary organisations so they can dedicate their resources to the provision of services.
I have been concerned over the past year by the loss of alternative sources of income, such as room rental and fundraising, experienced by family resource centres. I have asked Tusla to examine its available resources to see whether some additional funding is available to support such groups this year on a once-off basis. The Department has also secured €620,000 funding through the Dormant Accounts Fund to support family resource centres and Tusla will be inviting applications for these additional resources soon.