Long-term funding solution needed for Northlands - Colr.

SDLP Councillor John Boyle.  (1208JB41)
SDLP Councillor John Boyle. (1208JB41)

A long-term solution to the funding issues for Northlands Centre is vital, SDLP Councillor John Boyle has said.

Colr Boyle welcomed confirmation form the Department of Health that it is suspending previous plans to withdraw Core Funding from projects across the north, removing the immediate threat to Northlands.

“However,” Colr. Boyle said, “I am concerned that this is a slight reprieve which merely provides comfort in the short term and it may only represent a sticking plaster approach to the situation. Undoubtedly, an immediate crisis has been averted but more needs to be done to protect the service from 2018 and beyond.”

Colr. Boyle criticised the cancellation of a meeting on Northlands between the Health Minister and a cross party delegation from Derry City & Strabane District Council earlier this week. “That meeting had been requested in July last year. We had waited patiently for six months for the opportunity to bring our concerns to the Minister,” he said, adding:

“The Department of Health have, rightly, suspended an original plan which would have seen a loss of core grants to various community and voluntary organisations, including the Northlands Centre, and they have said that a new scheme will be designed. That will take time to do. However, with the current political arrangements at Stormont facing uncertainty, there is now no way of knowing when the Northlands Centre will have any sort of cast iron assurances about the future.”