Discretionary Support Review

26 Jul 2021 Shauna O'Neill    Last updated: 26 Jul 2021

Discretionary Support Review image

The Minister for Communities, Deirdre Hargey MLA, has appointed an independent, expert panel to review the Discretionary Support scheme which provides financial support to individuals in crisis situations in Northern Ireland.

The main purpose of this independent review will be to establish if Discretionary Support is delivering for the people who need it most. Discretionary Support is designed to support people who live in Northern Ireland and are in need of short-term financial help. Assistance may be available if a person is on a low income and they are in an extreme, exceptional or crisis situation. Awards can be made as either an interest-free loan or a non-repayable grant.

The panel would like to hear from people who have used the Discretionary Support service and organisations who support people to use the service. They have created a short survey to help us understand the experience of applying for or receiving a Discretionary Support loan or grant, and how Discretionary Support could be improved.

Take the survey here



The survey will be available during July and August 2021.

You can also contact the panel by email at [email protected].

The panel aims to provide recommendations for improvement to the Minister for Communities by 1 October 2021.

About the panel

The Independent Review panel will be chaired by Professor Grainne McKeever, a professor of Law and Social Justice at the University of Ulster.

Professor McKeever will be joined by a range of academics, grassroots community leaders and advice workers, including Dr Ciara Fitzpatrick, also of University of Ulster; Gerry McConville of the Falls Community Council; Jonny Currie of the Trussell Trust, Ursula O’Hare of Law Centre NI and Kevin Higgins of Advice NI.

shauna.oneill@nicva.org's picture
by Shauna O'Neill

Communications Officer

[email protected]

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