Community and voluntary sector welcomes new government’s commitments to increase funding and develop coherent policy

The Wheel, Community Foundation for Ireland and Clann Credo have welcomed the commitments in the new Programme for Government to increase funding and develop a coherent policy for the community and voluntary sector. The three organisations have committed themselves to working with the new Government and the Oireachtas as a whole to deliver on these important policies.

Speaking on behalf of the three organisations, Ivan Cooper, Director of Advocacy at The Wheel explained that the community and voluntary sector – which is comprised of 11,500 organisations involving over 500,000 volunteers and employing more than 100,000 staff with a combined turnover of €5.7 billion per year – has experienced cuts in State funding in the region of 30% since the economic crash.

“While the cuts have diminished in recent years, the sector has only experienced minimal increases in State funding, leaving many organisations in a position where they are barely able to survive and provide their much-needed social and community services. This situation has been made worse by the delays some organisations have been experiencing in receiving payments putting huge pressure on their already overstretched finances,” Ivan Cooper said.

Mr Cooper explained that the sector has been campaigning over recent months to get this situation rectified, which is why The Wheel, Community Foundation of Ireland and Clann Credo welcome the following commitments in the Programme for Government:

  • ‘We will increase funding to support the sector and develop a funding model that focuses on quality, effectiveness and efficiency.’
  • ‘We will produce a coherent policy framework and develop a strategy to support the community and voluntary sector and encourage a cooperative approach between public bodies and the community and voluntary sector.’

Ivan Cooper said that another issue that is vital for the sector - and the hundreds of thousands of people it serves - is the public consultation process being undertaken by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in relation to the commissioning of human, social and community services.

“We have been campaigning to ensure that the commissioning process that emerges is one that has Societal Value at its core. In this context, we are very pleased that the new Government has committed to ‘ensure that all commissioning for human, social and community services takes place in a societal value framework (targeted at maximizing the value for society)," Ivan Cooper concluded.