Newry.ie

If proposed cuts to Arts funding are implemented it would result in the loss of local jobs in Newry so says MLA Justin McNulty who visited Sticky Fingers Arts in Edward Street in Newry this week.

Mr McNulty said, "Newry and the surrounding counties are much healthier and happier place for children and families to live because of the work Grainne and her team at Sticky Fingers do. During my visit to the Sticky Fingers Imaginarium and Coffee Shop I was blown away by the work they do and the atmosphere of fun and engagement in the place was breath-taking.  Their outreach and work with kids with a disability, with autism or those living with dementia is incredibly positive. Sticky Fingers also run programmes for older people, and have identified demand for teenagers who are not interested in sport. I was just so very impressed indeed.

MLA Justin McNulty on a tour of the Sticky Fingers facility in Newry.
MLA Justin McNulty on a tour of the Sticky Fingers facility in Newry.

"Through the arts, Sticky Fingers gives children the space to engage freely with each other and gives them the freedom to explore and investigate new things.  It’s a very impressive venue offering children developmental opportunities intellectually, emotionally and also in terms of their self-confidence."

As Graiine the Chief Executive put it, ““People feel welcome, relaxed and just love being here, and they appreciate that the arts and creative development are essential for children.”

The Newry and Armagh MLA pointed out that Sticky Fingers has been a catalyst for imaginative and community organised events across Newry and Mourne.  "One only has to look at the success of the Giant’s Lair at Slieve Gullion, The Haunted Market, The Dragons, or The Fairy Tale of Christmas at Narrow Water to see how wonderful a positive impact that they are making on children and entire families."

Mr McNulty added "Grannie and her team are clearly passionate about the arts and about Newry. I was amazed to learn that their facility in Newry has a higher footfall than the MAC in Belfast City Centre which gets tens of thousands of pounds every year from the Department of Communities and Belfast City Council."

The Head of the Civil Service had just before Christmas proposed an 8% cut to the arts sector.

Mr McNulty pointed out that the arts are always seen as the soft target when it comes to cuts and the proposed  cut of 8% goes against every piece of evidence and best practice both nationally and internationally. The MLA added "Arts are not for the select few.  The Arts is about more than the Ballet or Orchestra, it’s about the type of work Sticky Fingers do and we must rally round and support their important work."

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