Action Mental Health (AMH) CEO David Babington has welcomed the recent publication of the Shared Prosperity Funding but cautioned there is still significant work to be done to bridge the funding shortfall:
“We’re delighted with the announcement that our SkillSET consortium successfully secured 2 years of funding to deliver employment and training support for people with disabilities. However this new type of support under SPF is very different to previous provision, delivered under the ESF programme, and as a result we have grave concerns that those most in need and furthest from the workplace will be unsupported. Alongside this change in support there is also a significant funding shortfall and all providers are now grappling with adjusting their delivery of support whilst dealing with fewer resources.
“AMH will continue to work with sector colleagues to make the case to the UK Government and NI Departments that additional funding is required rapidly to cover the shortfall. The sector is very used to a flexible approach requiring innovation and service reconfiguration, but providers like AMH are delivering core services on behalf of the Health Trusts and vulnerable clients not covered under this new SPF funding will still need support.”
SkillSET is a disability employment support group comprised of Action Mental Health, Cedar Foundation, Orchardville, NOW Group, Royal National Institute of Blind People, Mencap and Adapt NI. The group of seven organisations who provide services regionally, across Northern Ireland, secured £12m funding to support over 4,500 clients with a range of disabilities to build their skills through education/training and access the workplace over the next two years.
SkillSET will support clients with a range of disabilities including people living with: mental illness; learning disabilities, physical and sensory disabilities, sight and hearing loss.