SEVEN local community groups have already expressed interest in a £260,000 Covid-19 Response Fund launched by the Housing Executive.
Constituted groups, including Housing Community Network groups, organisations and enterprises carrying out activities to support local vulnerable people are eligible to access awards of up to £1500.
Colm McQuillan, Director of Housing Services for the Housing Executive, explained; “During Covid-19, we are linking with many community groups via our Good Morning phone call service.
“Our Patch Managers and other staff members are regularly checking up on vulnerable tenants in isolation by telephone.
“Many of these groups are helping provide a connection with the wider community and are reducing social isolation for those being asked to stay in their homes.
“Some community groups are delivering food to people’s houses, others are arranging pharmacy services and the provision of medicines but - probably most importantly - they are giving residents a link to the outside world and a listening ear if they need it.
“This fund aims to provide immediate financial support to enable these activities to continue and to help groups to operate in what is the most challenging environment any of us have ever witnessed.”
Linda Watson, Chair of the Central Housing Forum, the body which represents groups comprising the Housing Community Network welcomed this release of vital funding at this time.
She said; “This financial support from the Housing Executive is very welcome.
“It will provide a lifeline for groups operating at the coal face of our communities across Northern Ireland and will ensure that vital work protecting local vulnerable people will continue.
“The community response to Covid-19 has been overwhelming and I commend the Housing Executive for being so supportive and responsive.
“Together we can ensure that no one in our community gets left behind and that we all emerge from this crisis together as a united community.”
As of 12 noon on Tuesday, April 28, there had been 147 applications from local community groups for the Covid-19 Response Fund.
Seven of these were in the South Antrim area.