Funding for Mount Zion

Mount Zion at Edward Street.INLM1512-934gc
Mount Zion at Edward Street.INLM1512-934gc

CRAIGAVON Borough Council is to review its policy on funding after it was forced to turn down a request for an £18,000 package for Shankill Lurgan Community Projects (SLCP).

However, when probed by the ‘MAIL’, it transpired the Council is set to fund the organisation by more than £13,000.

It is understood the Council is to release the cash via both advice services grant aid and community development grand aid.

SLCP’s proposal had asked for funding towards the running costs of Mount Zion House in Edward Street and a contribution to some activities which were similar to those provided by Council owned centres.

The aim was to gain cash through the Community Support Programme - a collaboration between the Department of Social Development and district councils.

Last year the Council had funded this group £2,620 and an application had been made under the Community Development Grant-Aid Scheme for 2012/13.

At a meeting of the Council’s Development Committee it was said that Council was aware of developing the antipoverty and deprivation agenda but the Council was ‘limited’ in ways to help.

SDLP Councillor Joe Nelson said while he understood the council’s hands were tied he was disappointed there was nothing that could be done to help as this was one of the most deprived wards in Northern Ireland.

He said if it was to go under it would leave a big hole in community services in north Lurgan.

Sinn Fein Councillor Mairead O’Dowd agreed with Councillor Nelson adding she would have liked to have seen what community projects they had been planning.

Councillor O’Dowd proposed that council review its funding policies.

DUP Alderman Stephen Moutray said the work that went on at Mount Zion House was cross community.

He said it was successful for years but the council was bound by policy.

Policy, he suggested, needed to be looked at across the council and requested a full review of policies.

He said that Mount Zion was a worthwhile organisation but if council helped them it would set a precedent.

He suggested officers provide them with practical support but the council could not financially support them.

A council spokesperson said the organisation had already received funding from the Council through the Community Development Grant Aid Scheme and Advice Service Grant Aid Scheme.

She said the council were happy to write letters of support to other funders and the organisation had been signposted to the Neighbourhood Renewal scheme to discuss funding issues.

They would also receive help from the Council’s Grant Finder Programme.

A spokesperson for the Council said: “Council has no policy under which additional funding can be given on a case by case basis.”

The ‘MAIL’ was unable to contact SLCP at the time of going to press.