SDLP East Derry MLA Cara Hunter has encouraged people to come out and show their support for community workers.
She was speaking ahead of a day of action by community workers against cuts to funding amid uncertainty around the future of many groups.
Events will take place at 1pm on Thursday across the North.
East Derry MLA Ms Hunter said:
“Our community and voluntary sector are in serious peril. These organisations provide support to people across the North in a wide variety of ways, including those with learning disabilities, people with addiction issues, those who are struggling with their mental health and assistance for people wishing to return to work. If these services are lost they will have extreme consequences for people who rely on them each and every day.
“These cuts and uncertainty around future funding will lead to staff job losses and some groups having no option but to close altogether, when that happens it will be incredibly difficult to get these services up and running again. We cannot allow the Tory government’s austerity budget and the DUP’s boycott to heap further pain on people here and I’m asking the public to come out and stand with us to show our support for those who play such an important role in our society.”
SDLP Limavady councillor Ashleen Schenning is a community worker in the local area.
Councilllor Schenning said:
“Community groups and their staff are at breaking point. We are repeatedly expected to step up and fill in the gaps that public services do not provide, doing important work on the ground in our communities in a variety of areas and receive little support for doing so. Our staff do this because they are passionate about the communities they live in and the people they help. We ask for little in return and get even less.
“The current situation is completely unsustainable, community groups and their staff are used to making do and getting by with less funding than required, but the proposed cuts on the table will permanently decimate services here. I know how much people value their local community and voluntary groups, but we need to stand up tomorrow, gather together and send a clear message that we will not accept the destruction of services that change people’s lives for the better.”