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CO3's CEO, Nora Smith reacts to news of a £40 million Hardship Fund from the Department for the Economy

Reacting to the news of a £40 million Hardship Fund from the Department for the Economy, Nora Smith, CEO of CO3 said:

“Whilst we welcome news of a Hardship Fund, the devil will be in the detail in terms of whether or not our members can access this. To date most of them have not been able to access any financial relief despite the fact that our sector employs around 45,000 people and contributes £1.5billion to the local economy.

“The fund may be able to help a small number of charities and social enterprises and we await the detail to find out if this is something they can access in the absence of anything else.

“There are a significant proportion of charities that depend on public fundraising which has fallen off a cliff since lockdown measures were introduced. There are also a range of members who may not be eligible because of their size but are not able to access any of the financial support to date.  It is therefore crucial that the Executive urgently come forward with a targeted funding package for the third sector that will alleviate financial pressures facing charities and social enterprises.”