Dormant Accounts – What we’ve heard so far

We launched the consultation on Dormant Accounts funding three weeks ago and have been impressed by the positive reaction to the news and how many of you have been in touch.

We’re delighted that many organisations from across Northern Ireland have already registered to attend our consultation events and we’ve received almost 30 offers to host and convene roundtable events for specific organisations and sectors.

These sessions started in late October and more are planned between now and Christmas.

We’re already seeing the breadth and diversity of the VCSE Sector reflected in the conversations we’re having and the responses we’ve received to date.

Here’s a flavour of what we’ve heard so far:

  • We’ve heard a lot about the challenges presented by one-year funding and how securing funding for longer than this could help many organisations.
  • There’s no clear picture yet on how large or small grants should be – although we’re hearing more from organisations about the need for smaller, more flexible grants for three to five years.
  • We appreciate that we need to explore various funding models to ensure that Dormant Accounts can achieve its aim to support a resilient and sustainable sector. Many of our conversations to date have touched on this – with mixed views on grants versus loans and how much funding should be made available through each. We’re continuing to listen to your feedback and insights on this issue.
  • We’ve received positive feedback about our ability to assess and manage grants made under the Dormant Accounts Fund.
  • We’ve also heard that flexibility is needed in terms of what the money can be used for – some responses have talked about the challenges some organisations face when there are funding restrictions around salaries. We’re also hearing a bit about staff/volunteer burnout in organisations that feel they are constantly ‘firefighting’.

It’s important to reiterate that Dormant Accounts funding is not the same as National Lottery funding. The policy directions state that this funding ‘should benefit the third sector in Northern Ireland, through projects/work primarily delivered by Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise organisations to increase capacity, grow resilience and encourage sustainability’.

We’ve also been asked if statutory bodies such as Councils can apply. While VCSE organisations need to apply and be the lead in any applications to the Fund, they can work in partnership with statutory or private bodies.

We will continue to discuss all these points over the next few weeks. But there are a few areas that we want to explore in more detail.

Next steps

We know that while we want Dormant Accounts funding to meet the needs of a diverse sector, it cannot be all things to all people.

So with that in mind, we want to know what are the two or three main things Dormant Accounts funding could do that would have the greatest impact?

And if Dormant Account funding achieved its aims of increased resilience, capacity and sustainability, what would the third sector look like in five years’ time?

We would love to hear your feedback on these questions and those outlined in the consultation framework.

Here’s how you can get involved: · Review the framework and share your views, thoughts and comments – send them to us at

Come along to one of our events – To book a place, email us at least one week before your preferred event.

Please let us know if you have any specific access or dietary requirements.

We still have space at the following events:

  • Enniskillen, Killyhevlin Hotel – 27th November – 9.30-1.30
  • Craigavon, Civic Centre – 2nd December – 12.30-4.30
  • Derry-Londonderry, Guildhall – 12th December – 9.30-1.30

If you want to bring people from your area or sector together then you can organise a roundtable event. Please let us know, and we can come along and help make this happen.

You can find out more on the Dormant Accounts Fund page of our website –

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