Ulster Unionist Assembly Member for South Belfast Michael McGimpsey has met with Belfast Education and Library Board to lobby for a new youth facility in Annadale Flats.
Until the Assembly Member had intervened earlier in the year there had been no youth provision in the Annadale area, BELB is now providing two part time youth workers who are running youth services out of the community flat.
In a statement Mr McGimpsey said, “While I very much welcome the support of Belfast Education and Library Board in providing the two part time youth workers it does not go far enough. With over seventy young people registered with the service in the area the current accommodation in the converted two bedroom flat is wholly inadequate. Staff are struggling to run programs with the young people and many of them are having to be turned away for health and safety reasons.”
“I have met with the Chief Executive and officials from BELB and intend to raise the issue with the Education Minister. Only when a suitable building is provided can the youth and community workers really start to deal with the issues of anti-social behaviour and drug and alcohol abuse.”
In conclusion Mr McGimpsey said, “For too many years the children and young people in Annadale have been let down and left with no services or support. This I believe has contributed to the very serious anti-social behaviour issues that are rife in the area. It is time for the Education Department to step up to the mark and invest in the Annadale so as to give the children and young people the best start we can.”