Clarke praises Home-Start manifesto for Northern Ireland

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Friday, November 7th, 2014
Alliance Councillor Patrick Clarke has praised the support charity Home-Start which launched its first ever manifesto for Northern Ireland on Wednesday 22nd October at a Stormont event.

Councillor Clarke

The event was hosted by South Down MLA’s John McCallister MLA, Jim Wells MLA, Minister for Health Social Services and Public Safety, and Seán Rogers MLA, and also supported by Home-Start ambassador Lady Christine Eames. Clarke stated, “Home-Start has been helping families across Down District, South Down and other parts of Northern Ireland providing invaluable support and assistance to vulnerable parents and children who are socially excluded, living in isolation or facing complex problems. “Since the Children Fund ceased in March 2011 there has been a loss of over £80,000 in Ballynahinch and Newcastle schemes provided by Home Start per annum. “Home Start has been lobbying both the Health Minister and various other central government departments and Down District Council to secure funding to continue their work in Down District,” he continued. “A recent survey of local Home-Starts revealed that more than 65% believed children in the families they work with are not supported by health and social services when their parents suffer from mental illness. “60% said they work with families whose children are not protected from food poverty and 75% support families where the children do not have safe places to live and play.” He added, “I would like to take this opportunity to highly commend the work of Home Start and the many volunteers in Home Start particularly in Down District given the very high demand for Home Start services which has dramatically soared from 147 families in 2008/09 to over 312 families in 2013/14 marking an increase of over 112%.”
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