Constituency 7

Good Morning Network Under Funding Threat As No Funding Allocated. 
Sammy, has expressed his concern that the Good Morning Network across Northern Ireland and in East Antrim in particular in Newtownabbey, Carrickfergus and Larne, is under threat because funding has not been allocated in this financial year due to the fact that the Sinn Fein Minister Martin O’Muilleoir did not bring a budget to the Assembly before he resigned from office and Departments have not been allocated the full amount of money for the incoming year because there is no Minister now available to make that allocation.
Sammy said that he had worked closely with the Good Morning Network in his own constituency and knew how valuable the service was in helping to reduce isolation, increase the independence of people who would otherwise have to go into sheltered accommodation or residential care and improve the health and safety of elderly and vulnerable people who were living at home.
Every morning, hundreds of people across East Antrim are given a call by volunteers from the Good Morning Network. This call ensures that first of all, nothing has happened to the person during the night and secondly, often they are reminded of doctor’s appointments, dentist appointments etc and the need to take their medicine. If there is no reply then families can be alerted and I know of lives that have been saved as a result of early detection that something is wrong in the house because the call was not answered.
Volunteers often go well beyond what is required of them by getting shopping for people who, maybe because they are incapacitated cannot get out of the house on a particular day and helping in many other additional ways.
This service is a cheap service which reduces the cost of many of the statutory agencies. For every £1 invested in it there is nearly £4 of a social return across Northern Ireland and a huge saving to Health Trusts and other statutory bodies.
I call upon the Department of Communities to give an assurance that funding will be made available for this financial year so that the work of the network is not impaired and the thousands of people who rely upon the Good Morning Network across Northern Ireland are not left without support.
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