Said the Foyle MLA: “The European Social Fund is an essential source of support for a range of voluntary organisations in Derry and across the North of Ireland, providing vital support services every year to around 10,000 people.
“Threats to the continuation of this funding stream must be resolved as a priority, which requires action from the UK government and also government departments here.
“It remains unclear whether funding will continue at current levels when we get to the new financial year, which is a short time away in March.
“Serious concerns have been raised as to whether the UK Shared Prosperity Fund will be an adequate and viable successor programme.
“There are also real anxieties as to whether that will be used by the British government to undermine the system of devolution here, as well as possibly being a means of reducing funding for important services.
“Projects enabled by the European Social Fund include support services for the long term unemployed; assistance for young people not in education, employment or training; families that include people with disabilities; and assistance for people with convictions to re-integrate with society.
“The Executive Office plus the departments of economy, communities and finance must put pressure on the UK government to ensure continuity of current levels of financial support.
“I have written to the ministers seeking their active engagement to resolve this problem.”Tags: