Arthritis Ireland has been awarded €260,436 by Pobal on behalf of the Department of Rural and Community Development to support its community activities.

The funding was announced by Seán Canney TD, Minister of State for Community Development, Natural Resources and Digital Development. Minister Canney announced funding of €18.5m over the coming three years to 73 national community and voluntary organisations.

Gráinne O’Leary, Chief Executive, welcomed the announcement saying: “This grant enables us to have the most impact on the lives of people living with arthritis, through delivering services and assisting our volunteers in the community.

“Our volunteers are the lifeblood of the organisation. Together with our support staff, they are central to delivering the priorities set out in our new strategic plan.”

Services manager, Bronwen Maher, outlined the key actions supported by the grant that will be taken. “Over the next three years we are going to develop three new branches; grow our helpline and the peer support network; and increase the number of self-management courses, information talks and exercise classes delivered.

“Our goal is to reach and engage with a greater number of people who are living with arthritis, so that we can support them in living with this chronic condition. We are going to do this together with other community groups, the HSE, local authorities and health professionals. It’s very much a collaborative effort,” she said.

The funding is under a new round of the Scheme to Support National Organisations (SSNO) in the community and voluntary sector and it will run for a three-year period until mid-2022.

Announcing the funding, Minister Canney said that the government recognises “the value of the great work” carried out by national community and voluntary organisations. This funding allows organisations “to plan for a more sustainable timeframe”.

Michael Ring TD, Minister for Rural and Community Development, added: “Funding to national community and voluntary organisations under this scheme is to cover core costs such as staff, administration and ongoing running expenses. The organisations deliver critical supports and services in the health, disability, homelessness, children and young persons, older persons, equality and social inclusion areas, amongst others.”