Save Vital After School Project In North Inner City

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An after school project in the North Inner City fears it will have to close because of a lack of funding.

CASPr helps young children escape from the gangland feud and drug dealing in the area with after school activities. It's pleading for funding to stay open ahead of next week's Budget.

Ann Carroll, a project manager with CASPr outlines  some of the things the children they work with see on a weekly basis: "We have experience of a woman in Mountjoy Square Park with a syringe stuck in her leg, she had been shooting up. There were children playing in Diamond Park during the summer, and one child pricked his finger with a syringe and ended up in Temple Street. "

Their after school project is a chance for primary school children in the area to escape that world and to do their homework, go swimming or take a music class. It also helps their parents through training programmes.

Another working in the centre, Ruth Breen says the gangland feud has impacted heavily on the area: "We had to pull the shutters one day in our project because the shooting was around the corner. Unfortunately the children know the people who are shooting and know those getting shot."

The CASPr project is shortly reducing to two and a half days because of a lack of funding, with fears it will have to shut altogether.

If that happens - chairperson Brian O’Toole believed these children will be the next generation in trouble: "The children who are going to lose out on this are the children who we will be looking after when they are 14, 15 and 16 year old, the children who are being targeted specifically by the Mulvey Report - boys of 15, 16, 17 who are going to get themselves in piles of trouble."

This centre is in the heart of the Finance Minister’s constituency and ahead of next week’s Budget, the workers are appealing for it to be saved.

by Trish Laverty, 98FM
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