Coventry Irish Society seek council meeting over funding cuts that threaten charity's future

Coventry Irish Society seek council meeting over funding cuts that threaten charity's future

THE COMMITTEE at Coventry Irish Society will call for a further meeting with the leader of the city council to discuss a new strategy for funding to support the under threat service.

Last year Coventry council pulled its annual £30,000 funding from the welfare service, after 21 years of support.

The charity, which provides vital health and welfare services for thousands of vulnerable Irish people around the city, is currently wholly reliant on support from the Irish Government and unsure whether it will survive beyond July.

CIS Welfare Manager Simon McCarthy this week confirmed the organisation would be calling for a meeting with Coventry Council Leader Anne Lucas to discuss their future.

“Our intention is to request a meeting with Ann Lucas with a proposed strategy for funding from the city council,” he told The Irish Post.

Following Ms Lucas’ warm welcome to President Michael D Higgins during his final state visit stop in Coventry last month, the council has confirmed to The Irish Post that it will ‘look at new ways’ to help CIS.

A spokesperson said: “The council previously made a grant payment to the Coventry Irish Society of approximately £30k a year. The grant ceased as part of cuts to the council’s Neighbourhood Action Service and was made in the context of cuts to Council funding which meant all grants paid to voluntary organisations had to be reconsidered.”

They added: “The council faces a potential budget gap of £44m by 2016/17 and unfortunately difficult financial decisions need to be made. However, we are looking at new ways of helping to provide funding for community organisations.”

At a special reception for the Irish community at St Mary’s Guildhall last month, Ms Lucas addressed President Higgins and more than 100 Irish attendees from the 30,000 strong community in Coventry and other cities in the West Midlands.

“Coventry is great because of its people and our Irish community have played a big part in the city’s success for hundreds of years,” she said.