26/05/2005

Minister announces £1.2m early years services package

NIO Health Minister Shaun Woodward has announced an additional £1.2 million to maintain frontline early years services.

Services which will benefit, include provision for mother and toddler groups, crèches and pre-school groups.

The Peace II measure – Investing in Childcare - has already seen the creation of 238 projects and around 10,600 childcare places and 400 jobs in disadvantaged areas across Northern Ireland.

Mr Woodward said: “As a Department we realise fully the importance of early years and childcare, in promoting the best outcomes for children and the valuable contribution that the measures of the Peace II programme have made within the sector. However, it has always been clear that this measure would be time-limited.

“Government remains committed to supporting early years provision and has demonstrated this, through programmes such as, Sure Start and the Pre-School Education Expansion Programme. In addition, my Department is making available a further £1.2 million which will help to reduce the impact of the loss of this particular Peace II measure.

The EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation is a unique EU funded programme for all of Northern Ireland and the Border Regions of Ireland (Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Louth, Monaghan and Sligo).

The main aim of the programme is to promote reconciliation and help to build a more peaceful and stable society.

(MB/SP)

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