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Supporting Civil Society Organisations – Our submission on the future of the SSNO grant

The Department of Rural and Community Development recently called for submissions on the development of the Scheme to Support National Organisations (SSNO), a scheme to ‘to provide multi-annual funding towards the core costs of national organisations in the community and voluntary sector to assist them to operate and fund core staff positions.  SSNO has a primary focus on the provision of core funding to national organisations that demonstrate good governance and deliver services and supports that have a focus on one or more of the following: addressing poverty, social exclusion and promoting equality’.  Funding received from SSNO provides for core activities and staff of civil society organisations and allows membership donations and fundraising to be directed to front-line services.

Social Justice Ireland supports the objectives of this scheme and, in our submission to the Department, made recommendations and proposals for its future development.  These included:

-          Streamlining the administration involved in the scheme;

-          Expanding availability of the SSNO to a larger number of organisations;

-          Increasing the security of core funding to support innovation and creativity among funded organisations;

-          Implementing an evaluation process focused on outcomes and impacts, rather than inputs and outputs;

-          Providing mentoring and capacity building supports to allow collaboration by funded organisations on larger, joint projects;

-          Developing a balanced approach to applications and oversight processes and procedures where organisations of all sizes are supported to meet their objectives.

The role of civil society organisations and the Community and Voluntary Pillar cannot be understated, particularly in national dialogue concerning social and environmental issues.  The SSNO funding is an invaluable support, not only to national organisations but, through our work, to local and regional organisations too.  In our Budget Choices document, Social Justice Ireland proposed an increase of €47 million to support community development, including an increase in the budget for SSNO funding.  We look forward to its enhancement and continuance in progressing the work of all partner organisations.

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