Joe O’Brien, Minister of State at the Department of Rural and Community Development, on November 12, announced funding of €51m from the Dormant Accounts Fund “to address disadvantage across the country”.
The funding has increased. Four years ago, the spend was €28.5m.
Lucan Disability Action Group is typical of the organisations receiving government support during the pandemic. As their spokesperson said, “Without it, it would not be possible to run the service.”
Highlighting the overall impact, Minister O’Brien said, “The 46 measures approved for funding in 2021 will be implemented across Government and will help to address a diverse range of issues such as long term unemployment, youth disadvantage, migrant integration and probation support to prevent re-offending. Dormant Accounts funding makes a real difference,” he said.
Examples of measures approved for 2021 include:
- €6.4m to sports in disadvantaged communities and for persons with disabilities.
- €6m for youth and community justice services aimed at countering the influence and impacts of crime on young people and in communities.
- €2.3m to support social enterprises to address social and economic disadvantage.
- €1 million for a youth initiative to provide young people with the soft skills needed to improve employability.
Separately, in 2020, as the Department pointed out in a statement, Dormant Accounts Funding provided for €50 million in once-off supports for charities, community and voluntary organisations, and social enterprises in response to the pandemic.
Lucan Disability Action Group (LDAG) was one of the groups to recently receive support from the Dormant Accounts Fund through the Covid-19 Stability Fund.
LDAG manager Caroline Brady said, “We deliver wheelchair accessible transport throughout Dublin and surrounding counties (and) because of Covid we experienced a significant reduction in income this year.”
“First, because of Covid-19 restrictions, disability services were closed between March and September, which resulted in no income during this time. Second, because of Covid-19 social distancing, the capacity of the buses was reduced from seven passengers to one passenger.”
“In the meantime, we incurred significant extra costs to get the service up and running safely, for example making the buses safe for both members and drivers, investing in PPE and cleaning materials, as well as continuing to meet our existing obligations like payroll, diesel, CVRT, vehicle maintenance, utilities, rent, technology, etc.”
She said the extra funding enabled the charity to continue to deliver transport when the disability services resumed.
“We modified three buses in September and two in October and are operating with five modified vehicles from our 10-vehicle fleet. This investment enabled our members to access day centres, education, and hospital appointments – much needed after many months of isolation because of Covid. All of this is made possible by the assistance of the Stability Fund, without it, it would not be possible to run the service,” said Ms. Brady.
Download the Dormant Account Action Plan 2021: here