Potential cuts to Sure Start services would be hugely damaging, says Egan

Alliance Education spokesperson Connie Egan MLA was speaking after news emerged about potentially significant cuts to Sure Start services in Northern Ireland.

Education Connie Egan

The 28 Sure Start projects across Northern Ireland support parents with children aged under four years old, living in disadvantaged areas. The programme offers help to parents from pregnancy until their child starts school, providing health and family support, as well as early education services, which are designed to support children’s learning skills, health and well-being, and social and emotional development.


The North Down MLA stated: “Any potential reduction in funding to Sure Start would be the latest in a long and hugely damaging line of funding cuts which target our most vulnerable children and young people, and from which it could be nearly impossible to recover. 


All children deserve the very best start in life and Sure Start plays a key role in so many communities, providing a range of vital services at the start of life and during early years. I know that this news will be hugely distressing to many families right across Northern Ireland and it is beyond disappointing to see another vital service facing budget cuts.


It’s an unavoidable truth that the financial uncertainty facing services such as Sure Start is a direct consequence of having no Executive or local Education Minister in place. A restored Executive would not solve every problem within our education system, but without the institutions back up and running, we’re at a complete standstill in dealing with the myriad of crises in the sector.


I am also deeply concerned about staff who have given so much of their lives to working in this fantastic service. If staff have to leave the sector due to cuts, even if funding is made available again at a later date, we will have lost a huge number of experienced members of staff during the impasse.


Our children simply cannot afford to continue paying the price for the DUP boycott of the institutions. It’s time for them to accept our children deserve better, end their deadlock, and get back to Stormont to get an Education Minister into office to deal with these challenges.”