Down District Councillor Cadogan Enright has expressed his strong concerns to the Ministry of Health and Public Safety over their plans to cut of funding to the highly regarded Home-Start satellite Schemes in the Down District Area.
Cllr Enright has learned that the budget allocation for ‘ex Children’s Fund’ projects is due to be reduced by over one half in March 2009 and that there will be no further funding available from the Department of Health beyond March 2010.
In 2006 Home-Start Northern Ireland worked with 25 schemes to support 1,573 families and 2,908 children. Their volunteers visit families every week and have given support to parents in all sorts of difficult situations such as bereavement, illness, disability or for those who are finding parenting a struggle.
Green Party Cllr Cadogan Enright said, “What worries me is that if this funding is taken away, the families that have been depending on Home-Start will lose a vital lifeline. It will result in the closures of helpful schemes undertaken by Home-Start volunteers and the valuable work, which we have seen help many families in Downpatrick and district, Ballynahinch, Newcastle and other local areas, being unable to continue.
“I have called on the Minister for Health and Public Safety, Michael McGimpsey, to strongly consider implementing a new funding strategy so that we will not see Home-Start Scheme closures or reductions in their services.”
Cllr Enright concluded, “I am certain that many families have benefited from Home-Start locally and I would ask the local people to also write to the Minister asking him to continue funding and keep the admirable work of Home-Start going.”