KIDS’ cycling, swimming and cooking classes are just some of the activities in Clooney that will be hit if the number of youth intervention workers in the Waterside is reduced, local residents have warned.
The Clooney Estate Residents Association is set to hold a public meeting in the local community centre at 5pm this afternoon (Wednesday, February 6) to discuss the potential impact of the cuts.
A spokesperson claimed the decision to reduce the number of youth workers in the Waterside from five to three youth workers was “due to the lack of planning of the Department of Social Development (DSD) Neighbourhood Renewal Fund and Western Education and Library Board (WELB).” Residents claimed the reduction will take effect from March 31, 2013 and warned its impact will be huge.
“Speaking only for Clooney the impact of this is immense. Clooney Youth Intervention Project has been running for eight years and is embedded in the life of Clooney Community Centre,” the spokesperson stated.
“Our current youth worker has been employed for two years and has pushed the project forward building relationships with young people, parents and local schools.”
Amongst the programmes the under threat youth intervention worker Christopher Cooper has helped deliver are swimming classes, Kids Can Cook programmes, a healthy Tuesdays initiative and cycling proficiency courses.”
A spokesperson said Mr Cooper had levered in an additional £30,000 for programmes for the project this year alone.
“All other Neighbourhood Renewal funded posts are secured until March 2015,” the spokesperson stated.
“DSD have been funding youth posts however they now want to pass this responsibility on to the WELB. Through little negotiation with the communities they have come up with this review of youth services.”
The Sentinel asked both DSD and WELB for comment on the future of youth provision in the Waterside.
A spokesperson for DSD said it was committed to neighbourhood renewal and was considering an application from WELB.
“DSD has now received and is appraising an application for funding submitted by WELB following engagement with all four Neighbourhood Renewal Partnerships in the city. “The application will be considered for approval in line with Departmental procedures with an anticipated start date of 1 April 2013 if successful,” a spokesperson stated