What is next for NICVA following meeting with NI Secretary of State
NICVA, and representatives of the Northern Ireland Voluntary and Community Sector, welcomed Northern Ireland Secretary of State Chris Heaton-Harris MP to their headquarters recently, following the recent publication of the 2023/24 budget.
We had over 40 organisations from across the VCSE (Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise) sector present, and NICVA lead a session beforehand where we discussed the big issues facing the sector and coordinated how we would engage with the Secretary of State.
NICVA Chief Exec Celine McStravick said: “It was excellent to talk with the Secretary of State and to tell him about the incredible impact our sector has in Northern Ireland each and every day.
“As well as this, however, we spoke about the profoundly serious impact budget cuts will have on people in every community.
“Young people and older people, women, those seeking a way back into employment, those with disabilities and people wanting to access community transport, and those living in poverty – our sector helps everyone, and they are all being affected by budget cuts and funding uncertainty.
“Now is the time to reimagine our relationship with government, we need to switch from funding to investment, and to be recognised as equal partners in delivering on the promise of Northern Ireland.”
Great to have our meeting with @chhcalling and the sector featured on @bbcnewsline.— NICVA (@NICVA) May 4, 2023
With @Craig7Harrison & @scrabopower highlighting the pressure our sector is already under, which budget cuts will only intensify.
Watch back here #VoiceOfTheSector @CarersNI @Trussell_NI pic.twitter.com/abthYrdQis
Attendees asked a range of questions to the Secretary of State including his considerations around equality legislation when deciding upon budget cuts, the legacy bill currently going through parliament and the sense of negativity in our sector.
As well as a realistic assessment of where a lack of executive and long term planning has left us, there was also hope and positivity in the room. There is a real sense of our sector coming together with one voice.
Since the event, the Department for Communities has committed to an Equality Impact Assessment for their 2323/24 budget.
You can find full details and take part here. The consultation closes on 10th July 2023.
Next up for NICVA is our final Cost of Living event, this time in partnership with the Holywell Trust in Derry-Londonderry. This is happening on Thursday 25th May.
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