Posted on 13 Oct 2020

The Wheel, the national association of charities and voluntary organisations, today welcomed many of the investments in social infrastructure and voluntary and community supports announced in Budget 2021.      

Commenting on the announcement of Budget 2021, Ivan Cooper, Director of Public Policy at The Wheel, said, “We warmly welcome the allocation of an additional €10million for the COVID-19 Stability Fund for Community and Voluntary Organisations, building on the €35million secured earlier this year. This additional funding and the hundreds-of-millions of Euro announced for public services - many of which are provided by charities - is desperately needed. Total losses will add up to a €445m funding deficit by the end of the year, caused by a collapse in charities’ earned and fundraised income, and we are hopeful that today’s budget will go some way to addressing the deficit.”   

Ireland’s 12,000 charities employ over 189,000 people, mobilise over 350,000 volunteers, and save the state over €8bn every year by delivering health and social services. Over 1,000 organisations are funded by the HSE to provide essential services in health and disability, and Tusla funds a further 700 organisations in the areas of child welfare and family support.   

“Budget 2021 has served as a welcome recognition of the vital role which charities and voluntary groups have played in supporting people through the pandemic. This acknowledgement must now be matched by embedding supports for charities and community groups in provisions of Budget 2021 and the 2021 Recovery Fund. We look forward to analysing Budget 2021 further and to receiving confirmation that the €3.4Bn Covid Restrictions Support Scheme and other enterprise supports announced today will be available to social enterprises and charities”   

Other important measures announced today include:  

  • The extension of the vital Employee Support Scheme (of great significance to charities)  

  • €20m additional funding for voluntary disability services to provide support to the Transforming Lives programme

  • €100m for new disability measures including supports for the resumption of day services

  • €10m for voluntary hospices   

  • €38m to implement new measures under the Sharing the Vision National Mental Health Strategy

  • €22m for homeless services

  • An increase in supports for volunteering from €3.5m to €5.1m

  • €867 million for overseas development assistance (ODA).  

Mr Cooper continued, “The community and voluntary sector is the social fabric that knits our communities together. Ireland’s social fabric is fraying, but it is not too late to stop it from unravelling. It is very welcome to see budget allocations that support the work of the community and voluntary sector including voluntary disability services, voluntary hospices homeless support services, health providers, and our mental health services. We will be working to ensure that today’s budget increases flow through to support essential services provided by the community and voluntary organisations.