MLA for East Londonderry, Adrian McQuillan, has supported calls for the Minister for Education to rescind the £2 million which he plans to cut
from the Early Years education budget.
The move it is claimed will have a huge impact on early years provision across the Province.
Speaking after a visit to one of the groups affected - Aghadowey Pre-School, the DUP man said: “I have received many calls and letters asking for my support against these cuts. Without this financial assistance, many services to children and their families across Northern Ireland would be reduced or not be delivered at all.
“As I visited Aghadowey Pre-School, I read through some of the comments made by the parents there about how much the play-group means to them, one I feel sums up why we must fight against these cuts: ‘This Play-group is at the heart of the community in Aghadowey and we have had all our family circle attend over the past seventeen years. There are no other opportunities in our community for children of all different backgrounds to meet and build friendships at such a young age.’”
Cllr Michelle Knight-McQuillan, Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough council, who also visited the playgroup said “Services such as this are
fundamental in building confidence, social and learning skills for children at an early age to help them develop further when they reach the school arena. Removing this funding will put many such groups at risk and must be looked at empathetically “
Mrs Hughes, Playgroup Leader at Aghadowey Preschool Playgroup added: “Communities need to come together to fight for a reversal of this decision.”