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McGuinness welcomes Whiterock Children’s Centre opening

23 April, 2008


Sinn Féin deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness today welcomed the official opening of the Whiterock Creche Association's Children's Centre's £600,000 refurbishment project in west Belfast.

The Whiterock Creche Association Ltd is a not for profit community organisation that provides affordable high quality childcare, family learning opportunities and NVQ level childcare training qualifications.

INI administered £436,000 of support from the Integrated Development Fund (IDF) for the project. In addition to the IDF funding, the project also received £155,000 from the Big Lottery Fund's Building Quality Childcare programme.

Commenting on the opening of the newly refurbished facility, Mr McGuinness said:

"At its core the work at the Executive is about creating real changes in the social conditions and lives of people. That is why the over arching aims of the executive is to create prosperity and to end poverty. These are significant challenges and ones which must be met.

"We have set a target to end child poverty. If this is to be achieved we must break down the factors which perpetuate child poverty, such as low educational achievement, and remove the barriers which prevent parents from working.

"Ian Paisley and myself will shortly bring forward a strategy to redress poverty, deprivation and disadvantage. However this can not be solely aspirational. It must build on what we know will work and it must deliver on the ground.

"The good work of the West Belfast and Greater Shankill Taskforces and projects such as Whiterock Childrens Centre are leading the way in economic regeneration."

The work transformed over a quarter of the adjoining Belfast Metropolitan College building at Whiterock into a purpose-built child friendly area, providing an additional 34 childcare places for the Whiterock Children's Centre.

Cross community programmes and advice to minority ethnic families in the area have remained part of the comprehensive portfolio of services offered, and the Family Learning and Assessment Centre has also been maintained.


NOTES TO EDITORS:

  1. The Whiterock Creche Association Ltd. was established in 1988.
  2. The purpose of the Integrated Development Fund (IDF) is to provide additional support to strong wide-ranging partnerships in a small number of pilot areas. The IDF is intended to be additional and generate new activity. As such, it is specifically intended to be used to remove funding blockages where there is evidence that this will facilitate/accelerate the full implementation of the plans. Where possible, IDF funding should also help to lever in private investment.
  3. In 2003, the West Belfast and Greater Shankill (WBGS) Task Forces turned their attention to developing projects for support under the new (IDF). A WBGS bid to the IDF resulted in 17 projects being approved in principle for funding totalling £21.7million in September 2004. 15 of these projects have now completed the full approvals process, including a major Education Initiative and a £1million Social Economy Fund project.
  4. Funding for the outside play area of the Whiterock Children's Centre was provided as part of the government's Sure Start programme, and the Belfast Regeneration Office provided a small capital grant to assist with furnishing the building.

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