A Derry based youth project which gets young people involved in technology is facing a cut to its funding.
The Bytes Project is one of the city’s leading youth projects, with several thousand young people having availed of the range of courses and support services it offers since its establishment in 1997.
Last year the Department of Employment and Learning (DEL) transferred financial responsibility for the scheme to the Youth Council of Northern Ireland (YCNI).
But now Stormont’s Learning Minister Dr Stephen Farry has revealed a decision on further funding for the remainder of the financial year 2012/2013 will be made following a review by YCNI of the project’s operations. Money from this source runs out this month.
Last year staff and users of the Bytes’ project expressed concerns over the future of the project due to ongoing funding cuts.
Now Dr Farry has confirmed staff fears were justified.
Quizzed at the Assembly by SDLP MLA Colum Eastwood on the matter he said: “YCNI provided funding of £220,000 to the project in financial year 2011/2012, which was matched by DEL.
“The YCNI has advised that it has provided interim funding for the period April to June 2012 with a decision on further funding for the remainder of the financial year 2012/2013 being made following a review by YCNI of the project’s operations.
“My Department is also providing interim funding for the period April 2012 to June 2012 of up to a maximum of £55,000. Decisions on funding for the remainder of the financial year will be made following the outcome of the review being undertaken by YCNI.
“In addition, the Northern Ireland European Social Fund has committed to provide funding to the Bytes Project of £33,999 with match funding from my Department of £21,249 in the financial year 2012-13. I intend to present the NEET strategy to the Executive presently.”