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The Women's Sector out in force at the office of Minister for Employment and Learning Stephen Farry MLA in Bangor demanding Community Based Education for women!
Inequality gap widens: DEL's Discrimination in Practice.
NI gender inequality gap is projected to widen despite promises to ensure that women have equal opportunities in education and training.
The women's sector demands that the Minister for Employment and Learning provides community based training and development for women. Community based education has had an immense effect on the lives of women across Northern Ireland and has been the root of community development for decades due to its positive impact not only on the individual but also on their families and wider communities in which they live.
Women's organisations and centres have reached a critical stage as they face ongoing budget cuts which have had a devastating impact on the sector and a knock on effect on their vast range of services. The breaking point for the sector was the changes made to the European Social Fund by the Department of Employment and Learning in autumn 2014. Discrimination in practice occurs, for example, when women are unable to gain qualifications higher than level 1 through the further education college, as the NI economy requires for employment, due to the lack of childcare provision and transportation. In addition to these challenging restrictions, only 5 out of 65 ESF funded organisations are women specific projects.
Patricia Lewsley-Mooney CBE, Chair of Training for Women Network, said: "The DEL Minister, Stephen Farry, is failing women in Northern Ireland with no funding provision for community education, training and development that can directly lead to employment. Only 3.2% of the overall £112M budget in the current ESF programme supports women specific projects."
3.2% is more than an insult and less than lip service.
TWN AGM 2015
"TWN held their 16th Annual General Meeting on Tuesday 6th October. Patricia Lewsley-Mooney, as the incoming Chairperson welcomed everyone and thanked them for attending. She outlined the difficult and challenging year TWN had had, the new linkages created including Women into Politics as a project of TWN, the successful conclusion of both the ESF and CIF funded projects through DEL; the CRC funded research and development project, the DFA funded project for women's dialogue and the OFMDFM Good Relations Project. She also noted the extremely high numbers of older women who were availing of the TOWN Project and the fact that TWN had exceeded its numbers. She highlighted the additional years funding for this project and the very valuable work it was doing. She also noted that TWN looked forward to the challenged and opportunities which lay ahead in the coming year.
After the usual election of Office Bearers had taken place with Frances Shiels being newly elected Member to TWN's Board, as well as Lesley Reilly, Alison Blayney & Patricia Lewsley-Mooney being returned as Board Members. Heather Louden, TWN's treasurer outlined the finances of the organisation. The remainder of the evening was spent networking over food.
Thank you to everyone who came along to support us."
The Multiplier Effect of Funding Social Bodies
By Tom Ekin, former Lord Mayor of Belfast and business owner of Weavers Court Business Park
The running of economy in NI is a mess. It is worse than the old Banana Republics of South America. Because of the inefficiency of the political processes and the attendant bureaucracy there are many semi government, or "arm's length" bodies, which do good work but which cannot pay their way. They enter into ordinary business transactions with other small local businesses, the goods and services are delivered, the body delivers its service yet the funders do not pay up.
This is the old disease of decent hard working people being uncertain of their futures, of them being put on redundancy notice, where suppliers don't get paid, and the needy in society don't get the service which they have been led to expect. Being a supplier to some of these bodies, I hear that the money due to them is 9 months late in coming, and they don't know when or if it will come.
The recent budget talks about low productivity, in NI it starts with the Government here. Sinn Fein talks about austerity affecting the vulnerable, well how about releasing the funds promised to these bodies where they are working with the people who most need help. That is nothing to do with "Tory Cuts".
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