The new Regional Infrastructure Support Programme for Northern Ireland started on 1 October 2012.

Previously, the Regional Infrastructure programme (RIP) was administered by the Voluntary and Community Unit (VCU) in the Department for Social Development (DSD).

It operated for approximately 20 years, during which time it remained largely unchanged. The programme supported the core costs of key organisations involved at regional (Northern Ireland wide) level, in playing a supporting, coordinating or development role in relation to the voluntary and community sector.

A grant of £2.4m over 30 months (October 2012 to March 2015) was agreed for a programme of work to be delivered by a NICVA-led consortium involving partners RCN, CO3 and CENI.  This will provide the cornerstone for generic infrastructure support for voluntary and community organisations across Northern Ireland. The consortium partners will deliver an integrated range of activities and outputs relative to their particular expertise to achieve the high level policy outcomes as set by the DSD informed by the consultation held in 2010 with the sector.

Following a review of this programme in 2010 and wider sectoral consultation, DSD announced a revised programme for the provision of generic infrastructure support to enable the voluntary and community sector to operate effectively and efficiently across Northern Ireland in both urban and rural areas. DSD sought to engage a strategic partner or consortium capable to providing identified support across the NI wide voluntary and community sector. The following lists DSD’s high level policy outcomes to be achieved in the delivery of RISP up to March 2015.

Policy Outcomes

Outcome 1: Efficient delivery of Generic Regional Infrastructure Support Programme.

Outcome 2: Engage with sub regional organisations and local councils.

Outcome 3: Produce baseline information and extend numbers of groups supported province wide.

Outcome 4: VCS organisations across Northern Ireland, urban and rural, have access to key generic infrastructure support they need to function effectively and efficiently.

Outcome 5: VCS organisations are supported to achieve their objectives better than before and provide an improved quality of service to their customers.

Outcome 6: VCS organisations are fully supported to avail of the government programmes/initiatives that are available to them.

Outcome 7: VCS organisations are supported in maintaining effective governance arrangements, obtain and better manage resources, and improve sustainability.

Outcome 8: The VCS is supported in making a valued and effective contribution to policy development across Government

Outcome 9: There is increased VCS participation across NI and improved community development/engagement.

Outcome 10: There are improved working relationships, better collaboration and more effective partnerships across the VCS.

Please contact Úna McKernan Deputy Chief Executive at NICVA [email protected] for further information.


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