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The First Minister, Rt Hon Peter D Robinson MLA, has announced six ‘signature’ projects worth £26million to improve numeracy and literacy, offer increased family support, and to support job creation within local communities while tackling dereliction and empty units. Over 230 graduate teachers and health workers will be engaged by these projects over the next two years. The projects tackle core issues that contribute to a range of problems including unemployment and deprivation. The projects include:

Employment of 150 recently graduated teachers, who are without permanent employment, on a two year contract to deliver one-to-one tuition in English and Maths to Year 11 and 12 post-primary school pupils who are not projected to get a “C” grade in English and/or Maths;

Employment of 80 recently graduated teachers, who are without permanent employment, on a two year contract to deliver one-to-one tuition to primary school pupils who are struggling with reading and maths at Key Stage 2;

£2million additional support to DHSSPS for Parenting Programmes including additional health workers to support new parents. The Programme will provide support for up to 1,200 parents living in areas of deprivation and will potentially employ up to 50 additional health workers;

A pilot intervention to support young people, Not in Education, Employment or Training, (NEET) which will be rolled out to 500 families through DEL;

The establishment of ten Family Support Hubs to provide coordinated early intervention services in local areas. These will provide a range of holistic family support services;

£4million for the creation of 10 Social Enterprise Incubation Hubs to encourage business start ups in empty or derelict clusters of units and shops to reduce unemployment in local areas of deprivation; and

The establishment of 20 new children’s ‘Nurture Units” in addition to the seven already being rolled out across all areas. Nurture units have already demonstrated their capacity to improve the lives and educational attainment of children by offering support, help and guidance to targeted pupils within the school environment.

The First Minister said today:

“I am pleased to announce this £26million additional investment for six significant programmes. The Delivering Social change Framework is how we, as an Executive, will tackle poverty and deprivation. We want everyone to be equipped with the skills to strengthen our economic growth and for everyone to benefit from our mainstream education, health and employment programmes.

Without even the most basic educational qualifications many of our young people find it a struggle to get a job and create a better life. The additional support being provided for literacy and numeracy will tackle this problem head-on and help our young people obtain the qualifications to find work. It will also provide 230 young unemployed teachers with an opportunity to get teaching experience while contributing to raising educational achievement.”

Notes to readers:

1. An additional 230 graduate teachers who are not currently in work will be employed to deliver one to one tuition for children in primary and post primary schools who are struggling to achieve even basic educational standards.
2. The establishment of 10 Family Support Hubs over the next two years. These are coalitions of agencies which provide early intervention services locally in order to enhance awareness, accessibility, co-ordination and provision of Family Support resources in local areas.
3. Additional high quality support to new and existing parents living in areas of deprivation through positive parenting programmes. This would include potentially engaging 50 additional health workers on a two year basis to support this work and will provide guidance, training and information for up to 1200 families.
4. The development of approximately 10 Social Enterprise Incubation Hubs across areas of multiple deprivation over a two year period. This is designed to tackle dereliction and community eyesores but also the lack of local employment by encouraging social enterprise business start up within local communities.
5. Roll out of the pilot intervention to support those deemed NEET in developing skills and linking them to the employment market through structured programmes and projects. DEL’s pilot currently targets 20 families (10 rural and 10 urban). The intention would be to replicate this model and increase the number of families who will benefit to 500.

6. Additional funding for 20 nurture units to be rolled out across Northern Ireland. This will include at least two in each Social Investment Zone in addition to the seven nurture units already being rolled out by DSD.

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