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Deputy First Minister launches Integrated Services for Children and Young People

15 October, 2009 - by Westminster

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness MP, MLA today launched a major programme designed to tackle disadvantage among young people and children in the West Belfast and Greater Shankill area.

The Integrated Services for Children and Young People Programme has been established by the Belfast Education and Library Board and aims to increase the life chances and aspirations of children and young people and their parents, to increase educational attainment, to promote a commitment to lifelong learning, and to promote an increase in employability.

Speaking to an assembled group of participants and partnership organisations in Farset International on the Springfield Road, Mr McGuinness said: "This Programme provides a unique opportunity to break a long-running cycle of social and educational disadvantage in West Belfast and Greater Shankill and to ensure that young people from these areas are supported to achieve their full potential, now and in the future.

"It has also resulted in the creation of around 90 jobs in West Belfast and Greater Shankill to deliver these services. This is particularly welcome given the current economic climate.

"For too long , the economic destiny of our children has been an accident of birth. If you were born on the Falls or the Shankill you faced hardship, and career opportunities were limited. That was the past. We are about our young people getting an equal chance," he added.

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