Wednesday, 9th May 2012
Funding for Ballybeg Community Education Programme must be maintained and ring-fenced - Cullinane
Sinn Féin Senator David Cullinane has called on the Minister for Children to ensure that the Ballybeg Community Education Programme continues to secure funding and that it is not subsumed into the Waterford School Completion Programme. The Senator said that the BCEP provides an invaluable service in tackling educational disadvantage and was a community based organisation that is responding to the needs of the community.
Speaking in the Seanad Senator Cullinane said: "I want to commend the Ballybeg Community Education Programme for the excellent work that it does. It is a community based, after schools, education support project. It works with 55 young people and their families ranging from 4th class in Primary to 6th class in secondary. The pupils attend 3-4 times a week for 2-3 hours availing of study support, homework assistance, tutorials for exam year students and more. The Project also provides comprehensive youth work programmes, mentoring, career guidance and healthy lifestyle based recreation.
"Up to now funding for the project of €60,000 a year came through the Waterford School Completion Programme. However the project was autonomous and community managed. It is proposed to change this and remove the independence of the project by subsuming it into the Waterford School Completion Programme. However worse than that no funding has yet been allocated for post September 2012.
"I am extremely concerned about the future of the project. Trojan work has been carried out by the project with hundreds of young people have significantly benefited. It is a unique project and operates differently to the National School Completion Programme. I am calling on you Minister to ensure that the autonomy and Independence of the project is secured as well as funding into the future."
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