In June of this year Art Ability – a community organisation assisting children and adults with disabilities - based in Agnes Street, Belfast, was given just one week’s notice that it’s funding was to be removed. A SIPTU organised campaign has been running since then to secure funding to protect this vital cross community organisation from closure, and to ensure its client’s needs were addressed. This campaign resulted in the initial securing of limited funding which did not fully protect the organisations future.
However, as a direct result of the SIPTU campaign we are delighted to be in a position to report that interim funding has been secured to enable the organisation to continue to operate. Art Ability will now be in a position to apply for further funding for the autumn quarter, and their doors remain open.
(SIPTU facilitate Belfast Mayor Niall O'Donnghaile visit to Art Ability in June)
Richard Long, Project Manager for Art Ability and SIPTU member said,
“Our project was under very real threat of closure. If it hadn’t been for SIPTU getting involved with their organised campaign, we would probably have had to close our doors. SIPTU’s campaigning experience and assistance have enabled us to secure this additional funding and I would advise other community sector workers to join SIPTU also”.
SIPTU Organiser Teri Cregan stated,
“We could not have achieved the interim funding without the help and support of activists, the media, political representatives, and civil servants who worked with us on our campaign to protect this vital project. To each person that played their part in this collective campaign we say thank you. We are absolutely delighted that Art Ability have secured this vital funding and we are now working with other organisations who have also either lost vital funding or have had it substantially reduced. Our analysis is that community sector organisations coming together with SIPTU is the only mechanism where Community Sector workers might be afforded the same protection as that enjoyed by workers in other sectors facing the threat of cut backs. This analysis is shared by a growing number of community sector workers who are joining our union in ever increasing numbers.”
While this project that has been running for 21 years is “not out of the woods” yet, this interim funding will allow it to continue to provide cross community services to the locality at least in the short term.
Watch the You Tube video filmed before the successful outcome of our campaign, where Richard Long speaks about Art Ability;