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Sinn Féin Lend Support In Down District Home-Start Funding Crisis
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Sinn Féin MLA Chris Hazzard has written to Health Minister Edwin Poots and Finance Minister Simon Hamilton lending his support to Home Start in Down District’s campaign to secure slippage funding from the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety.

Mr.Hazzard said: “I recently received a representation from Home-Start Down District who detailed to me the funding crisis they are in and the financial constraints they are having to deal with. Home Start carry out boundless work across this district. It is very unfortunate that once again this vital and worthwhile service is faced with cuts to funding, which in effect will lead to limitations on their service delivery here in Down.

Sinn Féin's Naomi Bailie said that Home-Start in Down District must be supported as soon as possible by central government funding.

Sinn Féin’s Naomi Bailie said that Home-Start in Down District must be supported as soon as possible by central government funding.

“I have written to the Minister Poots and Minister Hamilton to lend my support to their campaign to secure slippage funding from the Departments of Health and Finance in order to see their activities continue in to 2014.”

Downpatrick election Sinn Féin candidate Naomi Bailie also backing Home-Start outlined the importance of securing the service for the people of Down District saying: “Over the last four years, demand for Home-Start support across Down District has spiralled. From 2009 to 2013, the numbers of families supported by Home-Start Down District increased by 195% from 147 to 286 families.

“Home Start Down District have supported 565 children at a cost of £9 per child per week, which in contrast, a House of Commons Report (2009) found that the average cost of taking a child into residential care was £2,428 per week or £676 per week to place the child in foster care. These figures speak for themselves and are testament to the efforts of Home-Start staff and the service they offer.

“Indeed Scottish Government research (2010) suggests that for every £1 invested in early years preventative measures, can save up to £9 per adult on more acute services in later life. That research would suggest then, that the £100K received in slippage over the last 2 years, has potentially saved £0.9million on more acute services in later life.

“Comprehensive longitudinal research shows that Home-Start support enables families to cope better with their daily lives, including families with complex and multi-faceted needs. Furthermore, Home-Start volunteers contribute 14000 hours supporting families in their own homes across Down District which represents a social capital investment of £88,340 per annum in the local Down District economy.

“I trust the Ministers will look favourable at the great work carried out by Home Start in Down District and will provide the necessary financial assistance in order to keep this excellent work going,”  added Ms Bailie.