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Government Support Needed for the Community & Voluntary Sector

Community based organisations have played a major role in battling Covid-19 and should receive increased acknowledgement and support from government in future, Paul O’Sullivan, CEO of Clann Credo Community Loan Finance and Chairperson of The Wheel, the representative body for charities, social enterprises and community & voluntary organisations, said today (Wed. May 27th, 2020.) He was addressing The Wheel’s 2020 Virtual Summit.

Paul O’Sullivan said that the decision of government to provide a €40m support package earlier this month to assist organisations involved in delivery of frontline services was an important first step.

“We in Clann Credo currently support over 500 community organisation, sports clubs, charities and social enterprises countrywide. We see that the vast majority are suffering a double blow from the pandemic. On the one hand their ability to function, hold events or raise income is greatly diminished. On the other hand, the level of public demand for their services is surging as people and local communities come under ever increasing financial and economic difficulties.

Charities cannot fundraise, social enterprises have had their ability to trade decimated, and sports and other community centres are unable to use or rent out their premises or facilities. The losses run to hundreds of millions of euro and this must be addressed by any new government, Paul O’Sullivan said.

“What must be remembered is that none of these organisations undertake their work for private gain or to produce shareholder dividends. They provide a much needed local services and aim to break even, any surplus is ploughed back into the local community.

“Any loss or collapse of services or delivery by these organisations will, therefore, be a loss to local communities and often the most marginalised will be most affected.

“To quote from Andy Haldane, Chief Economist at the Bank of England, ‘we need to invest the rich endowment of social capital created by the crisis by rethinking and rebuilding the institutional immune system that is our social sector.’

“The Wheel will continue to develop its advocacy, training and other key services to ensure that the voice of these groups is represented to government, local authorities, the media and to other relevant agencies.

“Ireland was fortunate to have a strong social sense of community that is helping us in the battle against Covid-19. That sense of community has been developed and nurtured over the years by grass roots community based organisations up and down this country. Many have developed into large scale charities.

“The economic impact of this pandemic on these organisations could be fatal. The social ecosystem that we relied on as we entered 2020 may not be there in 2021, unless the government devotes considerable policy priority and resources to restoring confidence and stability for our sector,” Paul O’Sullivan said.

For further information on this media release, please contact:
John Gallagher at John Gallagher Consulting  Tel. 087 936 9888

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