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Social Investment Fund

The Social Investment Fund (SIF) was set up to deliver social change. It aims to make life better for people living in targeted areas by reducing poverty, unemployment and physical deterioration. The fund will run until March 2016 and has been allocated £80 million by the Northern Ireland Executive.

About the fund

The Social Investment Fund is focused on supporting communities to:
  • increase employment opportunities by addressing things such as educational underachievement, lack of skills, access to jobs and making it appealing for businesses to start up in areas which have suffered deprivation
  • tackle issues such as mental and physical health, use of drugs and alcohol, becoming a young mother, young people’s involvement in antisocial behaviour and the ability of communities to work together which can all be associated with deprivation
  • increase services in the community by improving existing facilities, making the environment better and providing additional facilities where needed and possible
  • address dereliction in order to make areas more appealing for investment and for those living there
The following pre discussion paper was published in March 2011 and outlines the high level strategic concept, objectives and overall methodology of the Fund.

Operation of the fund

Following consideration of the issues emerging from the consultation final proposals on the operation of the Fund were brought to the Executive and agreed on 17 May 2012.

Steering Groups

The fund is being delivered in partnership with communities across nine social investment zones. Each zone has a steering group with up to 14 members from the business, political, statutory and voluntary and community sectors. The steering groups developed plans for each social investment zone. They will manage the plans.
Information on the Steering group membership can be found on the nidirect website at the link below.

How the investment zones were decided

Four zones identified outside Belfast are broadly the same as the areas where the health and social care trusts operate. Four zones are in the Greater Belfast area and are based on Northern Ireland Assembly constituencies. One zone is aligned with the Derry City Council boundary.

Eligibility for funding

The steering groups for each zone were asked to identify areas eligible to seek funding to take forward projects related to poverty, unemployment, increasing services and dereliction. It was agreed that the following measures would be used to decide which areas were eligible:
  • areas within the top 10 per cent of most deprived Super Output Areas on the Multiple Deprivation Measure 2010
  • areas within the top 20 per cent of most deprived Super Output Areas on the key indicators of income, employment, education and health
  • areas which could provide independently verified and robust evidence of objective need linked to the four strategic objectives of the Social Investment Fund (as detailed above)

Current Position

The Steering Groups submitted a total of 89 Projects within their plans from across the nine zones.

The projects are now going through a quality assurance review. This will ensure that only the most robust projects and those that will have the most positive impact within their communities are recommended to go through to the next stage.
Following this, decisions will then be made on the final projects and how they will be funded and delivered. The projects will then start in communities soon afterwards.

Social Investment Fund projects - funding announced for first SIF projects

The First Minister and deputy First Minister have announced the first projects to be funded through the Social Investment Fund (SIF) programme. £33million will be invested in 12 capital projects and 11 revenue projects, aimed at tackling poverty and deprivation through improved community based services and facilities.
You can find out more about the projects and the funding they will receive by clicking on the link below.

Contact Social Investment Project Team

If you would like more information about the Social Investment Project you can contact the project team:.
SIF Project Team
Room E4.15
Block E Castle Buildings
Stormont Estate
Belfast BT4 3SR
email: sif@ofmdfmni.gov.uk
telephone 028 9052 8591 / 028 9052 2048 / 028 9052 3160

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