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Social enterprises need urgent support, says Dickson

Urgent support needs to be given to social enterprises in Northern Ireland to help them survive the coronavirus pandemic, Alliance Economy spokesperson Stewart Dickson MLA has said.

Mr Dickson, Chair of the Assembly All-Party Group on Social Enterprise, has written to Economy Minister Diane Dodds outlining his concern regarding the current funding situation, saying unless support is given, many social enterprises will go under.

“As with many sectors, the traditional means of generating income for most social enterprises in Northern Ireland have become more difficult or impossible due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore many organisations have found their very survival is under threat,” said the East Antrim MLA.

“Unfortunately, social enterprises are not currently eligible for much of the assistance available to the private sector and therefore many will go under as a result of this crisis. These organisations bring economic and social value to Northern Ireland, providing a vital service to the community.

“I have asked the Economy Minister to take an urgent look at how to support social enterprises. Swift action is vital in this difficult time. If we lose such valuable socially driven businesses, Northern Ireland will greatly lose out, now and in the future.”