Northern Ireland news

Funding for community organisations to help in reducing social isolation and loneliness

The funding will help organisations reduce social isolation and loneliness

ALMOST 20 community organisations supporting victims and survivors of the Troubles are to receive a share of £200,000 funding to help reduce social isolation and loneliness.

The Victims and Survivors Service (VSS) has awarded the money, provided through the EU's PEACE IV Programme, to groups to build social connections and improve health and wellbeing.

It said it will enable 6,000 social interactions, positively impacting the lives of victims and survivors throughout the summer.

The funding supports activities centered around the Take 5 Steps to Wellbeing initiative, which aims to encourage victims and survivors to "connect, be active, take notice, keep learning and to give".

Activities include outdoor photography, book clubs and painting workshops, walking tours, equine-assisted learning and horticulture.

Margaret Bateson, chief executive of VSS, said the service was "committed to improving the health and wellbeing of victims and survivors".

"This initiative will allow us to provide 19 community organisations with the means to help reduce social isolation amongst victims and survivors, which is more important now than ever due to the Covid-19 pandemic," she said.

"The funding provided to our community partners will enable victims and survivors to safely interact and connect through a range of social activities, now that restrictions on social interaction are easing."

Gina McIntyre, chief executive of the Special EU Programmes Body which manages the funding programme, said: "Many victims and survivors of our shared history experience high levels of isolation which can have a negative impact upon their mental health.

"Unfortunately, this has only been intensified, as a direct result of the pandemic.

"This EU PEACE IV funding will allow community organisations to deliver further health and well-being support activities, that will give thousands of victims and survivors the opportunity to positively connect with those around them."

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