RASHARKIN Women’s Group would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank their local MLS who lobbied on their behalf for funding to enable the group to keep the After Schools Club open. As a result the funding for this much needed service has been extended for a further year until March 2012.
Rasharkin Women’s Group, After Schools Club has been providing subsidised childcare places in the village since 2002. The Club currently has approximately 50 children registered to attend. The club is registered with Social Services for 16 places each day and works throughout the summer months providing a morning and afternoon session each day from Monday through to Friday. Children are collected each day from school and brought to the club where they can participate in homework clubs, crafts, computer clubs and fun activities. The club is open from 2pm to 6pm each day during term time and 8am to 6pm during holidays. Currently the club employs a Playcare Leader and Playcare Assistant. Under the auspices of Playcare Leader Louise Carey the club has achieved a great many awards including the prestigious Playboard Pathways to Excellence- Investing in Quality Award.
The continuation of funding to Playboard for Childcare was announced by First Minister Rt Hon Peter D. Robinson MLA and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness MP, MLA on 21 March. Following their announcement the Ministers acknowledged the valuable work carried out by the groups and resolved to work towards a long term sustainable funding strategy.
Mr Robinson said: “It is our intention that a lead department for this policy area will be identified in the future. In the meantime OFMDFM will continue to coordinate the issue through the Ministerial Sub-Committee on Children and Young People as we develop a comprehensive childcare strategy. Lack of affordable childcare is a significant barrier to employment therefore the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister will continue funding Playboard to ensure that the vital work they carry out continues.
Mr McGuinness said: “As well as this interim funding we have secured a further £12million for childcare provision. Over the next twelve months we will work to ensure that arrangements are put in place to deliver the level of care our children deserve.”