éirígí representative in the Lower Falls area John McCusker has demanded that the Stormont executive provide funding to ensure the continuation of the Integrated Services for Children and Young People initiative in West Belfast after March 2011.
Over the last three years, staff and volunteers from the initiative have put in place a range of integrated services to meet the needs of children, young people and their families in the West Belfast and Shankill areas.
Family support, health, education and youth services have been provided to thousands of individuals and families to improve their quality of life and to enhance their personal, social and emotional development.
McCusker said: “Despite surpassing the targets initially set out for the initiative and managing to use their resources effectively and efficiently, none of the departments at Stormont deemed fit to include the Integrated Services for Children and Young People Initiative in their recent budget submissions.
“It is imperative for the already under-resourced working class communities in West Belfast and the Shankill, which contain a large number of vulnerable young people and their families, that they can continue to avail of the vital services provided by the initiative beyond March of this year.”
McCusker added: “The health, wellbeing and education of the most vulnerable people in our community should be a priority for anyone claiming to be a public representative.
“We are demanding that these frontline services for children, young people and families in West Belfast and the Shankill are secured in the long term. The failure to do so would be yet another indicator that the Stormont administration is abjectly failing to work in the interests of working class communities.”
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