Community workers face Christmas lay-offs

�/Lorcan Doherty Photography -  September 2010. Paul Callaghan - Photo Lorcan Doherty Photography

�/Lorcan Doherty Photography - September 2010. Paul Callaghan - Photo Lorcan Doherty Photography

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Community workers in Derry face redundancy notices this Christmas due to “dithering” at Stormont, it’s been claimed.

With the community and voluntary sectors already feeling the heat in terms of a draconian wave of proposed cutbacks, SDLP MLA Pol Callaghan said the failure to agree a budget in the North’s Executive is causing “further anxiety”.

“There is widespread concern in the community and voluntary sector at the lack of progress on agreeing a budget at Stormont. These groups don’t know what the future holds for them in terms of funding and they are all too aware of the severe cuts coming here from London. What they need is certainty and what they deserve is imagination. The parties at Stormont need to get serious about this issue and sit down and discuss a sensible way forward.”

He blamed Sinn Fein and DUP for failing to set a date for the budget.

“Unfortunately, the more they dither the more distress is caused for workers in community and voluntary sector groups.” He added: There is no need to cause workers and their families the upset of redundancy notices coming in the letterbox in the mouth of Christmas. “

Meanwhile, a special event shining a spotlight on the proposed public sector cuts is to take place in Derry on Thursday.

Organised by the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland, a seminar will take place in the Ráth Mór Centre on Bligh’s Lane in Creggan from 10.30 am.

Avila Kilmurray, Director of the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland, said: “Our Board of Trustees is deeply concerned about the impact of the UK government’s current social and economic policies on the most deprived groups within society and the North West region is no different. We know these cuts have the potential to increase marginalisation and deprivation, as the activities of community development organizations are potentially restricted.

“We currently have great hopes for the potential of the City of Culture initiative and in 2009-10 we invested significantly in groups and individuals across the north west region, with around 60 grants being awarded – equating to around 20% of our funding activity.”

For more information on this event, please contact Charlie Fisher at the Community Foundation on cfisher@communityfoundationni.org or on 
028 90 245 927.