Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Michelle O’Neill has praised members of Loughgiel Community Association for their self help attitude towards meeting childcare needs in the local area.
Speaking at the official opening of the newly renovated and extended Loughgiel Childcare Facility, Minister O’Neill said that Loughgiel community Association, through its commitment to improving life in the local community and innovative approach, is making a valuable contribution towards building a thriving and sustainable community.
The Minister said: “Reliable and affordable childcare services are as essential in rural communities as in urban centres, yet in many rural areas availability does not meet local demand adequately.
“This project demonstrates how that can be changed whenever a local community sets about finding solutions to meet local needs. Social Economy Enterprises such as this demonstrate the suitability of this model for economic growth in rural areas and its potential as a key driver for economic recovery.
“Facilities at the Millennium Centre already bring many economic and social benefits to the area and brings people together in a way they hadn’t experienced previously. This extension will further add to this by providing jobs locally and enabling parents to work or pursue education and training. I commend the commitment and dedication of this community association to meeting local needs and I hope that other rural communities throughout the north of Ireland will follow their positive lead.”
The facility, funded by the NI Rural Development Programme is run as a social enterprise and provides playgroup and after-schools facilities.