Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Loss of experienced Youth Workers unforgivable

20 July, 2005

The Belfast Education and Library Board has responded to criticisms from
Sinn Fein Education Spokesperson Michael Ferguson about the potential loss
of half of the City's Educational Youth Provision.

Sinn Fein Education Spokesperson Michael Ferguson who has been highlighting
the case of 28 educational youth workers who are facing redundancy next
month has been critical of the BELB response and damning of the Education
Department. He said,

" The BELB has responded to the potential loss of half of its educational
youth provision by claiming that it has been in negotiation with the
Education Department for sometime to resolve the problem.

"The truth of the matter is that we have experienced frontline youth workers
who have been on six month to twelve-month contracts for five years when
this essential service should have been mainstreamed.

"The Department of Education itself has published a report called
'Transforming Youth Services' in which they recommend one youth worker for
every thirty young people and yet there are only fifty-six throughout the
entire city and half of these are under threat while the rest are on 6-12
month contracts.

"We have high levels of poverty and deprivation in the city, we have
unprecedented levels of self-harm and suicides among young people and we
need at least 100 youth workers who are on the mainstream parole. The BELB
are being disingenuous in their response and should have the courage to
challenge the Department and the Department is abdicating their
responsibility for educational youth provision even by their own standards.

We need a Real Education Budget that supports Education and Learning and
youth services central to this provision."ENDS

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