Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 2 October 2014

DebateNI home of Northern Ireland politics

Poots announces £2.5million for Mencap

Stormont Executive press release - Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety

Health Minister Edwin Poots has announced £2.5million capital funding support for Mencap.

The substantial investment will go towards the development of a new centre offering a range of support services to children and young people with learning disabilities and their families.

Speaking as he visited Mencap headquarters, Minister Poots said: “Mencap does important work across Northern Ireland in supporting children and young people with a learning disability and their families. Early this year I visited Mencap’s nursery at Segal House in Belfast and was humbled by the passion and dedication of the families, staff and former clients. It was clear to see that appropriate support, stimulation and early intervention can make a very real difference to the development of children with a learning disability.

“That is why I am so delighted to announce £2.5million for the development of a new centre. The benefits this facility will bring cannot be underestimated. As well as greatly enhancing the lives of those children who use it, parents will also benefit from the emotional and practical support that will be offered through the centre.”

The new facility will include:

· An early intervention service - including play rooms, sensory room and facilities for therapy support in the early years.

· Shared activity space for children, young people and families - including an information area, a family room and consultation room, soft play, art and crafts rooms and meeting spaces.

Accompanying Mr Poots on his visit, Finance Minister Sammy Wilson said: “I was very pleased to be able to accompany the Health Minister and be part of this good news announcement for what is a very worthwhile cause. The Executive recognise the valuable role that organisations such as Mencap provide within the Health Service and are conscious of the need to provide the necessary funding to allow organisations to develop and deliver front line services to families and friends who are most in need.”

Welcoming the investment Maureen Piggot, director of Mencap in Northern Ireland said: “We are absolutely delighted with the Minister’s announcement, which confirms his commitment to early intervention support for children with a learning disability and the provision of information and practical help for their families.

“This funding is critical to the development of a new world class centre of excellence that will benefit children with a learning disability, their families and the community for years to come. It will enable us to move to new premises to continue the work on early intervention and inclusion we began nearly fifty years ago, which is a key area of Mencap’s strategic work.”

Notes to editors:

1. Total cost of the Mencap project is £3.5million.

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