The Beeches, Aghalee

Oral Answers to Questions — Employment and Learning – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:15 pm on 30th September 2002.

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Photo of Edwin Poots Edwin Poots DUP 3:15 pm, 30th September 2002

9. asked the Minister for Employment and Learning when she intends to visit the vocational learning unit at The Beeches, Aghalee.

(AQO 227/02)

Photo of Carmel Hanna Carmel Hanna Social Democratic and Labour Party

I intend to visit the Beeches vocational learning unit at Aghalee on Wednesday 16 October 2002, and I look forward to that visit.

Photo of Edwin Poots Edwin Poots DUP

I thank the Minister for confirming her visit. I had written to her earlier in the year, and she said that she intended to come in the autumn. However, she needs to bring more than herself; she needs to bring some assurances about the European funding that was withdrawn. The Down Lisburn Trust is sustaining the unit, but that cannot continue indefinitely. Her Department has a role to play in providing funding for the unit.

Photo of Carmel Hanna Carmel Hanna Social Democratic and Labour Party

Regrettably, I do not have the resources to continue to support projects that were not successful in their applications for EU funding. However, the Executive have agreed that £6 million will be made available from the Executive programme funds to ensure that critical services provided by projects are not lost. I have had a meeting with the Minister of Education and the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, and officials from my Department are involved in a cross-departmental working group with officials from the Department of Education and the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety. We are actively looking at transition from special schools to further and higher education.