An afterschool project in the North Inner City fears it will have to close because of a lack of funding.
CASPr is a community development agency that tries to help young children escape from the gangland feud and drug-dealing in the area by providing afterschool activities and childcare.
Established in 1995, the group run an after school programme to help primary school children do their homework, arts and crafts, go swimming, play sports, learn to cook and go to the cinema.
They also operate a creche for 15 pre-school children and provide an Outreach Family Support Service to staff and parents.
However, the group announced that urgent funding is needed to continue their services which will be cut by 50% within two weeks unless the funds can be sourced.
CASPr will soon be reducing to two-and-a-half days a week because of a lack of funding, with fears it will have to shut altogether and just 90 children will be catered for from 180 from October 16.
In an appeal to local representatives to secure promised funds, Ann Carroll, Co-Ordinator, CASPr, said: “It is with deepest regret that we are announcing a reduction in services, especially at a time they are needed most given the current gangland climate that exists in the North Inner City.
“Because of the consistent policy of reduced funding and a policy change in Community Employment, we will now only be able to cater for attending children 2.5 days per week for each of the two projects (90 children in total).
“We have been engaging with our public representatives on all pertinent issues but with no successful outcomes to date despite many meetings. We are now in the process of alerting parents and schools to this new reality.”
Ms Carroll explained that the group is looking for “modest support” and “an end to the constant worry for the survival of the project”.
“The whole point of austerity is to give future generations protection against future hard times so it makes no sense to throw away things of lasting value, like CASPr. We’ve spent our rainy day fund which was never very big to start with just as the government talks up their own rainy day fund.”