An Gaeláras to receive over £70,000 from dormant accounts

An Irish language and cultural organisation in Derry is one of the first organisations to be awarded a grant from The Dormant Accounts Fund NI.

Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 10:27 am
Chief Executive of An Gaeláras, Pádraig Mac Congáil. An Gaeláras is one of the first organisations to receive funding from the Dormant Accounts Fund NI which is delivered by The National Lottery Community Fund in conjunction with the Department of Finance.

The programme, delivered by The National Lottery Community Fund in conjunction with the Department of Finance, is supporting the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector to be more resilient and prepared for the long-term future.

An Gaeláras, which runs Irish language education, music and cultural activities, has been awarded £76,000 to improve their financial resilience by increasing opportunities to generate income.

Pádraig Mac Congáil, Chief Executive of An Gaeláras said: “We currently receive funding from quite a few funders, but one of our ongoing goals is to become more self-sufficient. We want to be able to provide a valuable community hub and services into the future as we develop our educational, cultural, social and employment opportunities.

“In recent years our staff and Board have recognised the value in appointing someone to increase our revenue and help with our sustainability, but we haven’t been able to dedicate the required resources into it.

“So once the Dormant Accounts Fund opened, we were ready to apply straight away as we already had plans in place and knew what we needed - this just gave us the opportunity to finance it. I’m confident the organisation will be in a stronger position in two years time and it should be very clear that the sustainability of the organisation has been increased.”

Dormant accounts are UK bank and building society accounts that have been untouched for 15 or more years, where customers who own the accounts cannot be traced. Over £20 million is currently available and money will continue to be released each year to support the long-term sustainability of the VCSE sector.

As part of the first phase, organisations can apply for up to £100,000 as part of a flexible and responsive grant programme to help them adapt to future challenges and be more financially resilient.

Kate Beggs, Northern Ireland Director at The National Lottery Community Fund, said: “There has been a lot of interest in Dormant Accounts Fund NI and we are delighted to be able to award the first grants.

“We know many organisations are trying to plan for the long term and thinking about the changes they need to make to become more sustainable. Those changes require leadership, strategic planning, new skills and strong governance. Those are things for which funding often isn’t available and that’s where the Dormant Accounts Fund comes in. It will provide flexible, multi-year funding and allow a diverse range of organisations to plan for a more secure future.

“There is also support for larger investments that will enable collaboration and develop new and creative Northern Ireland-wide or sector-specific approaches to sustainability.”

Finance Minister, Conor Murphy said: “It is great to see the very first initial awards being made from the Dormant Accounts Fund. This funding will support these projects with longer term sustainability and resilience which are at the very core of this Fund.

“I look forward to further awards being made in the near future and seeing the positive longer term impact the Dormant Account Fund has within the voluntary, community and social enterprise sectors.