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Childcare crisis in Belfast

18 August, 2004

Seeking this morning at the Press Conference on Childcare provision across North and West Belfast, Cllr Fra McCann MLA said:

"We are facing a real crisis in Childcare across North and West Belfast with projects closing, families losing support and the needs of children being set aside in favour of financial considerations.

"These projects provide vital services in some of the most deprived communities in Ireland that have extreme levels of unemployment. Over 10% of children in our communities leave school without qualifications, over 14% of all births are to teenage mothers and 9% of all households are headed up by single parents. And yet these are the groups which are targeted by these cuts.

North Belfast MLA Cathy Stanton added:

"We all recognise the need to invest in services for young children and families and the need to secure a better future for our communities. Many of the projects targeted for these cuts enhance child development, support families, provide skilled employment, and deliver training.

"It is time that the Departments recognised the vital role that childcare plays in community regeneration and valued the vital services which these groups deliver. We are seeking an urgent meeting with a cross departmental ministerial team to secure funding to allow the groups to continue to operate. These groups, are playing a role in maintaining and regenerating communities. It is time for the government to step up to the plate and support childcare." ENDS

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