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Ritchie provides education boost for Armagh

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Social Development Minister Margaret Ritchie MLA, today officially opened a family learning centre at St Patrick’s Primary School, Armagh.

The facility, funded by the Department for Social Development, provides computer equipment for adults wishing to avail of further education opportunities in the local area. It also complements a range of measures aimed at improving the education of children living in Neighbourhood Renewal Areas covered by the Southern Education and Library Board and the Southern Regional College.

Margaret Ritchie said: “Education and training are key elements which must be addressed if we are to tackle the spiral of deprivation in Armagh Neighbourhood Renewal Areas. Too many people continue to experience barriers to employment because of a lack of education and qualifications. I am determined to remove these barriers.

“The adult education suite at St Patrick’s Primary School is providing a local venue for residents who might otherwise be daunted by starting their education again in a formal setting.”

The suite was provided as part of a £500,000 programme of education and further education and learning projects funded through the Neighbourhood Renewal Investment Fund. The projects, which place an emphasis on family involvement in education, gives parents an opportunity to take a more active role in their children’s development. It also complements other programmes such as the Extended Schools initiative, and will play an important role in developing tailor made courses to meet the needs of the Neighbourhood Renewal Area.

Margaret Ritchie continued: “To date my Department has provided funding of over £500,000 to the Southern Education and Library Board and the Southern Regional College, for a range of education and training programmes in the Armagh Neighbourhood Renewal Area. These programmes span the entire age spectrum, from primary school, to secondary school to adult education.

“I am confident they will help address the economic, educational and social problems facing residents in these communities and will, in time, contribute to an increase in prosperity and quality of life.”

Notes to editors:

1. The Neighbourhood Renewal Strategy 'People and Place' was published in June 2003 to close the gap between the quality of life for people in the most deprived neighbourhoods and the rest of society.

2. The Neighbourhood Renewal Strategy has four interlinking strategic objectives:

  • Community Renewal - to develop confident communities that are able and committed to improving the quality of life in their areas.
  • Economic Renewal - to develop economic activity in the most deprived neighbourhoods and connect them to the wider urban economy.
  • Social Renewal - to improve social conditions for the people who live in the most deprived neighbourhoods through better co-ordinated public services and the creation of safer environments.
  • Physical Renewal - to help create attractive, safe and sustainable environments in the most deprived neighbourhoods.

3. Media enquiries to DSD Information Office on 028 9082 9078. Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.