Dormant Bank Account Fund to be established in Northern Ireland

Date published: 12 September 2019


The Department of Finance has today announced that a Dormant Account Fund will be established to support projects in the third sector.

£16m has been made available to the Northern Ireland fund from dormant bank and building society accounts to fund work to support resilience, capacity and sustainability in the sector.

Making the announcement, Permanent Secretary Sue Gray said: “Northern Ireland has a really strong third sector that is doing fantastic work and making a positive and meaningful impact on so many people’s lives.   

“A key principle of this £16m Dormant Account Fund is that it will be used to fund services that would not normally attract public money – providing a real opportunity for a range of organisations including community and voluntary groups and social enterprises to access funding.

“I would really encourage the sector to bring forward their ideas to help shape the plans for this fund.”

In May, the Department hosted events with a wide range of stakeholders from across the third sector to identify themes the fund should address. The National Lottery Community Fund has been directed by the Department to deliver the fund and will now further engage with the third sector to develop a Strategic Action Plan for the scheme which will open this financial year.

Kate Beggs, The National Lottery Community Fund Northern Ireland Director said: “We are delighted to receive directions on Dormant Accounts from the Department of Finance, which allow us now to move forward with delivery.  This will provide much needed funds to increase capacity, resilience and sustainability in the third sector, supporting organisations that carry out vital work in communities across Northern Ireland.

‘We want to ensure this money has the greatest impact possible. Over the coming months, we will be engaging widely with the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise sector in order to design the programme and draw up the required Strategic Action Plan for delivery.”

Welcoming the release of the funds, Director of Social Enterprise Northern Ireland Colin Jess said: “Social Enterprise Northern Ireland are absolutely delighted to see the release of these funds which will make a significant difference to social enterprises right across Northern Ireland. The funds will give impetus to their business, to their work and will allow them to carry on projects that will make an impact in their community. The release of Dormant Account Funds will give support to the social enterprise sector which is making an increasing contribution to the Northern Ireland economy.”

Highlighting the impact these funds will have for the community and voluntary sector, Seamus McAleavey Chief Executive of NICVA said: “It is great to see this significant extra injection of cash which will help community and voluntary organisations in Northern Ireland particularly looking at their own sustainability. It’s really good to see the Department of Finance pushing this forward and directing the National Lottery Community Fund to establish the fund – we look forward to being involved in the consultation.”

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Notes to editors: 

  1. Dormant accounts are accounts where banks and buildings societies have been unable to trace the customer of accounts which have been untouched for 15 or more years. 
  2. The National Lottery Community Fund will distribute the Northern Ireland Dormant Bank Account Fund in line with The Dormant Bank and Building Society Accounts Act 2008 on behalf of the Department of Finance. Monies available through the Fund come from dormant bank accounts and not lottery funds.
  3. The Northern Ireland (Executive Formation and Exercise of Functions) Act 2018 allows the Department to make this decision.
  4. All media queries to Department of Finance Press Office on 028 9081 6724 or email Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer on 028 9037 8110.
  5. Follow the Department of Finance on Twitter @dptFinance

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