NICVA convene sector-wide meeting with Shadow Secretary of State Hilary Benn
The MP for Leeds Central was appointed to the role in the past month and NICVA were quick to make the connection and arrange for our sector to meet with him and talk about the issues we’re facing.
There was a great discussion across a range of topics, including how our sector is funded. Looking at the recent decision by the Department of Health to cut the core grant to organisations and the Labour Party’s long-term commitment to the levelling up agenda – particularly the future of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.
Reflecting the variety and reach of our sector, the conversation also touched on adult education, access to social and health care, the cost of living crisis, a potential Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland, climate change and digital skills.
As well as this, there was a lot of time dedicated to how our sector is dealing with the fact we don’t have a functioning executive and the negative impact this is having on groups and organisations every single day.
Following the meeting, our Chief Executive Celine McStravick said: ‘It was fantastic to have the Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland come and engage so openly and honestly with NICVA and our wider sector. For our sector to continue to have an impact, we need to build and nurture relationships with politicians and decision makers. Meetings like todays are essential and NICVA are proud to be able to open those doors for the sector.
‘It was a great opportunity to showcase the value and contribution of our sector but we were clear we needed to start being taken seriously as a sector, we need to be seen as an investment and respected as the key part of the machine that keeps Northern Ireland running.
‘Having engagement like this really brings into focus how much our sector is being failed by Stormont not being up and running. As we at NICVA have been saying for a long time: we need a functioning government, and we need one now.
‘We look forward to building on today and working with the Shadow Secretary of State in the future’.
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