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SDLP Newry councillor Kevin McAteer has expressed his concern about the provision of key youth work positions in the city after staff informed him that uncertainty surrounded future funding.

Cllr McAteer, a youth worker himself, said "I am deeply concerned about the uncertainty that surrounds the future of youth work positions due to changes in Neighbourhood renewal funding.

“Youth Work is a vital asset for communities throughout the North but especially here in Newry where excellent work is ongoing to support young people who are typically difficult to reach. There’s no doubt that the quality of youth work happening in our area is unrivalled across the island and that’s down to the caring, compassionate and skilled practitioners we’re lucky to have. This work saves huge sums of money in the long term through preventative programmes which tackle anti-social behaviour, promote mental wellbeing and heal the divisions between communities.

“I would be extremely concerned if that work was threatened by changes to funding arrangements. I’ll be speaking to my party colleague and member of the Stormont Social Development committee Dolores Kelly MLA about this as a matter of urgency. We cannot lose these services and the SDLP will fight to ensure their retention.”

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