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Adams praises work of Whiterock Children's Centre

31 October, 2006

Today Tuesday October 31st the Enterprise Minister Maria Eagles has officially announced £380,000 investment in Whiterock Children's Centre in West Belfast.

Yesterday the Children‚s Centre formally announced the investment. The event was attended by management, funders, parents and children who use the facility, and staff. Among those present was Sinn Fein West Belfast MP Gerry Adams who has had a long association with the Centre and its efforts over the last 16 years to develop and expand.

Welcoming the investment by the IDF Mr. Adams said:

"This is good news for west Belfast and the local Whiterock community. The IDF allocation which comes on the back of funding from the Big Lottery two years ago which brought in £155,000, means that a much needed expansion of the Whiterock Children's Centre will now go ahead.

"The facilities that it will provide are substantial and will be of enormous benefit to students, parents and the community.

"This is an important part of the rolling out of the West Belfast Task Force report.

"I met with the British Minister Maria Eagles on the Task Force report last week. It was a good, positive meeting. I am more hopeful now that we will see significant progress on the implementation of the Task Force recommendations in the near future, including investment in flagship projects like the Whiterock Childrens Centre, as well as Conway Mill.

"We also made progress in our discussions last week on a number of other important projects, including the Gaeltacht Quarter."

The West Belfast MP concluded by praising the 'hard work and dedication of the management committee and the staff. The strength of the Whiterock Children's Centre lies in the many people who over 16 years have dedicated themselves to providing professional care for children, as well as essential training services for this community and support and help for our new friends and neighbours from the ethnic minority groups."

Note to Editor

The Whiterock Children's Centre has now been in existence since 1988. Following a very important partnership with St. John's GAC the Whiterock project was able to expand with a new purpose built centre opening in 1997 being provided and so further space was acquired within the college.

The centre provides family learning guidance, has projects for ethnic minority groups, a healthy living project, a cross border cross community project, NVQ assessment and a childcare training centre and afterschool provision.

Currently the centre employs 35 people but with the new money and new services and facilities which will come on stream in the time ahead, this is set to expand.

All in all this is a model development which has overcome obstacles and difficulties and is going from strength to strength.

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