New family learning facility opens in Newry

May 25, 2010

A new family learning centre at St Malachy’s Primary School, Newry was officially opened on Friday.

The facility, which has been funded by the Department for Social Development, provides a local venue for adults wishing to avail of further education opportunities and for pupils using out of schools hours learning. It is part of a major programme of measures aimed at improving the education in the Newry Neighbourhood Renewal Area.

Formally opening the facility, DSD Permanent Secretary, Will Haire said: “Too many people continue to experience barriers to employment because of a lack of education and qualifications. Education and training are key elements which must be addressed if we are to tackle the cycle of deprivation in Newry Neighbourhood Renewal Areas.

“The family learning centre at St Malachy’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 centre, which cost £129,000, was provided as part of a £794,000 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.

Mr Haire added: “To date the Department for Social Development has provided funding of over £794,000 to the Southern Education and Library Board and the Southern Regional College for a range of education and training programmes in the Newry Neighbourhood Renewal Area. These programmes span the entire age spectrum, from primary school, to secondary school to adult education. They are part of a major programme of measures in Newry which the Department has supported over the last three years involving an investment of over £4million in the area. 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.”