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Adams urges action over Early Years projects

9 August, 2004

West Belfast MP Gerry Adams has written to the British Direct Rule Minister Angela Smith requesting that she convene a roundtable meeting with childcare providers in North and West Belfast to discuss an impending funding crisis regarding the Early Years projects.

Mr Adams said:

" The Early Years projects in North and West Belfast deliver vital services to one of the most deprived communities in the Ireland. At present these projects are surviving on short term funding from disparate sources, without the focus of a recognised lead Department and a dedicated Ministerial responsibility.

" Most recently the introduction of EU funding streams such as the Childhood Fund, Playcare and the changes in the New Opportunities Fund now means that many of these projects face closure. The groups involved estimate the potential loss of up to 500 jobs, 802 childcare places and 867 after schools places. The impact of such changes in North and West Belfast would be immense.

" I have met with the groups facing closure and I have since written to the British Direct Rule Minister Angela Smith urging her to convene a round table meeting with a delegation of childcare providers from across North and West Belfast and relevant Ministerial colleagues to address this vital matter." ENDS

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