Young People Organise protest to ‘Save Our Services’

Gasworks protest PR 240215 pdf

Press Release

Young People Organise protest to ‘Save Our Services’

Wednesday 25th February 4.00 pm at DSD Head Offices

Young people from the Upper Springfield area have set up a campaign group and plan to have their say on proposed 40% ‘cuts’ to Upper Springfield community & youth provision by organising a protest outside the Department For Social Developments Head Office, Lighthouse Building, 1 Cromac Place, Gasworks Business Park, Ormeau Road.

Young people from the Upper Springfield area organising a local campaign to highlight the devastating impact that proposed 40% cuts to youth and community provision will have on what is already recognised as the most disadvantaged community in the north of Ireland.

Young people are asking community groups, youth groups and local residents to assemble at 4.00 pm on Wednesday 25th February at the DSD Head Office so they can ask Mervyn Storey the Minister responsible for social development to rescind this decision.

A spokesperson for the young people said:  ‘We are asking all local people, both young and old alike to come out and support this media event to highlight the impact that these proposed cuts will have on the local community. We want the event to be a disciplined expression of our disgust at the Department for Social Developments decision to punish those who are already the most vulnerable and marginalised.’

Sean Conlon who is a local youth worker and is supporting the young people to organise the event stated that: ‘ Young people from the area are very angry, they feel that their community already carries the burden of significant inequalities and the ‘cuts’ to local services will only add to this. As youth workers it is our role to support young people to fully participate in the decisions that impact on their lives and challenge those in power to listen to what they have to say.’

Some weeks ago the Department for Social Development informed local community groups and projects within the Upper Springfield the department would be proposing to reduce financial support for local groups by as much as 40%. Local community groups estimate that the result of a ‘cut’ in services of this nature will result in;

  1. The possible closure of five local community based organisations providing essential mental health and counselling support;[1]
  2. The loss of essential welfare advice services in Springfield/Whiterock;
  3. The loss of youth work and support services aimed at supporting the areas most marginalised young people;
  4. The loss of a community arts project;
  5. The loss of a local women’s support group;
  6. The loss of services will impact on hundreds of local people in a period of ‘austerity’ when they are most in need of support. This includes projects dealing with welfare, counselling and youth. In the past year they have dealt with
  • 250 young people disengaged from services;
  • 1176 people availed of advice services (people being sanctioned on the dole, people unfairly treated, people unaware of their rights or benefit entitlements);
  • 504 people used the local counselling service
  1. The combined loss of these services will also result in the direct loss of 25 jobs (mostly coming from the local community) and the possible loss of a further 101 posts.

For further information contact Niall Enright at 02890236677 or email niall@usdt.co.uk

[1] Springhill Community House, Holy Trinity Centre, Corpus Christi Services and the Centre for Health & Well-Being, Voices Women’s Group, USDT Arts Group.

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