Save Artillery Youth Centre

 

The people of New Lodge in North Belfast have been shocked and angered at the decision of the Belfast Education & Library Board (BELB) to close the Artillery Youth Centre. The centre is a vital resource for the local community, focusing on helping young people outside of education to develop skills.

 

According to the NISRA Multiple Deprivation Measure (2010), North Belfast is in the top 2% of the most deprived areas across Northern Ireland; with the New Lodge area suffering more than most with unemployment up by 10% in the past year alone.

Artillery Youth Centre has been at the heart of the New Lodge Community since 1969 tackling these very issues.  It has brought £1.4 million into the area over the years; providing young people with educational and training programmes. This centre gives teenagers and young adults the opportunity to achieve a constructive future away from the dead-end of sectarian conflict. It has also fought to stay passionately independent, non-sectarian, secular and not influenced by any of the sectarian political parties.

The local community, recognising the value of the youth centre has rallied overwhelmingly around it in support and defence. Staff have gathered thousands of signatures from the local community demanding that the centre remain open and have organised meetings with members and families.

This has forced back the BELB who would have seen the centre closed at the end of August. Under tremendous pressure from the community, BELB has put the date back to December. Staff and supporters should not turn down the heat now. This extra time gives an opportunity to further organise and put pressure on the politicians who are responsible for funding these services. North Belfast has three MLA’s who are Ministers on the Executive. The Minister responsible for funding the centre – Sinn Fein’s John O’Dowd – could guarantee the funding at the stroke of a pen!

If funding is not secured shortly, a campaign to mobilise the local community directed at local MLAs and councillors can bring pressure on the Minister to act now to save this vital service.

 

Total
0
Shares
Previous Article

Parades: A New Front Line Opens

Next Article

Osborne’s cuts plans aren’t working

Related Posts

Socialist Party calls for nationalisation of energy companies

Press Release - 10th September 2008

‘If the Government can spend billions bailing out the banks, they can bail out hard-pressed families by taking control of the energy sector’ – Peter Hadden

The Socialist Party has called on the Government to nationalise Phoenix Gas and Northern Ireland Electricity in response to “the completely unjustifiable price increases, which are solely designed to protect the profits of these monopolies.”

Support NUJ strike at BBC

Workers at the BBC are currently participating in a 48 hour strike in a bitter struggle against managements attempt to drive through draconian attacks on pensions.

Tory budget will hit women hardest

The budget to be announced in October is set to slash public services. This will not only amount to thousands of job losses, but to an essential loss of services and benefits for the most vulnerable in society. Women still face inequality today due to low paid, part time work, lack of child care facilities etc. The emergency budget from May only exacerbates the existing inequalities of income between men and women.