Church groups urged to seek new funding

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Local church and community halls may be in line for a financial boost after funds were released by Stormont.

Upper Bann DUP MLA Sydney Anderson, welcomed the recent funding announcement made by First Minister Arlene Foster MLA and Minister for Communities Paul Givan MLA that £500,000 is to be used to support improvement works for community halls across Northern Ireland through The Community Halls Minor Works Pilot Programme.

Mr Anderson stated: “I believe that this funding announcement is positive news for people right across Northern Ireland with community organisations being able to undertake minor works and improvements to their premises.

“Church halls, Orange halls and other Community halls are all encouraged to apply for this funding with priority being given to applications where there has been limited prior investment by central government, local councils or lottery funds, are currently restricted in their use or underutilised because of disrepair, have been subject to recent criminal damage or as a result of anti-social behaviour and/or are located in areas where access to similar services is limited.”

Sydney Anderson MLA continued: “The programme is targeting groups and communities which are most in need and it is seeking to help organisations which offer space and services which benefit the community. It is intended that this funding will be of benefit to a wide range of people and will make a practical difference to facilities.

The funding will also benefit both urban and rural areas and I would encourage groups within the local area who meet the criteria to apply. Funding can be used for a range of small scale refurbishment works with individual awards of up to a maximum of £25,000. The closing date for applications to be submitted is Wednesday, November 23 2016. Further information and application forms are available on the Department for Communities website.”