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Premier Brad Wall announces new funding Thursday for non-profit groups in the province. ((Niall McKenna/CBC))

Community-based organizations in Saskatchewan have been given a boost in government funding.

The province announced Thursday that 680 groups that provide a range of services in communities across Saskatchewan will share an extra $18 million. The agencies include everything from food banks to recycling centres.

Premier Brad Wall said most of the money will be used to give staff at the organizations raises and to recruit new workers.

"One of the unintended consequences of growth and of prosperity is the fact, for your organizations, that you're now competing with the private sector and with industries to try to keep good people," Wall told an appreciative audience of representatives of the non-profit sector.

"You need to be able to pay them a little bit more. You need to be at least competitive."

Wall said the new funding should help organizations increase wages by about nine per cent.

Rita Field, a spokesperson for crisis-intervention groups in Regina, Saskatoon and Prince Albert, said the extra money was long overdue.

"What happens is a good heart only goes so far," she told CBC News. "The workers that we have also have families and commitments and want to build a future for themselves. And the competition for workers out there is immense for social workers —for skilled, caring and loyal social workers who can do the crisis intervention."

Field predicted some wages could go up by as much as $5 an hour.