Colin McGrath said: “I have been inundated with emails from local community and volunteer groups who have informed me that this cut could have a devastating impact on their ability to operate.
“In most cases, this is the only source of public funding these community groups receive. Without it, they will be unable to train volunteers and may cease to function.
“Unfortunately, without a devolved government in place, this decision has been made without proper scrutiny and many of our usual methods of stopping such a policy aren’t currently available.
“However, on Friday, an SDLP delegation met with the Permanent Secretary of the Department for Communities, Leo O’Reilly, and asked him to reinstate the funding required. We also suggested, should the funds required not currently be available, that Mr O’Reilly submit a bid in the December Monitoring Round to secure the necessary funding.
“The SDLP will continue to engage with the Department to ensure that this funding is released.”