Lack of a budget is undermining youth services and putting vital work at risk, says Egan

Alliance Education spokesperson Connie Egan MLA spoke out after the Education Authority (EA) this week (27 March) announced significant and potentially damaging cuts to funding for Voluntary Youth Organisations in Northern Ireland.

Education Connie Egan

In a letter sent to several youth service organisations, the EA announced that due to the Department of Education not having yet received its budget allocation for the 2023-24 financial year, previous commitments of 12 months of funding were no longer guaranteed.


They stated that instead only one twelfth of the anticipated funding will now be provided to these organisations, to allow for the immediate delivery of services and payment of staff.


Ms Egan has expressed her ‘deep frustration’ at the news which has left a number of youth providers without certainty, being expected to run services in a state of financial limbo.


The North Down MLA stated: “I have been contacted by several deeply concerned youth organisations that had previously received assurances of funding for a period of 12 months, only for this to be rescinded at the eleventh hour.


“These providers are understandably devastated at the increasing likelihood that they will be unable to deliver much-needed services and vital support within their local communities beyond April.


“It is just unacceptable that these extremely valuable youth services are expected to operate in the context of monthly rolling finance updates. This will undoubtedly have a significantly negative impact on our most vulnerable children and young people, as well as the morale of the staff who serve them so brilliantly.


“I have raised my grave concerns about the impact of these cuts with the Chief Executive of the Education Authority and the Permanent Secretary of the Department of Education.


“Whilst I understand that the Department has not received its budget allocation for the incoming financial year, the Department and the Education Authority must see the impossible position they are putting youth service providers in and I would urge them to change course.


“For the DUP to continue preventing the restoration of Stormont and the appointment of ministers, plunging vital community organisations even further into uncertainty and destabilisation, is simply unconscionable.”