Lyons: Sólás funding cut must be reversed

Funding Belfast City Council Dónal Lyons

SDLP councillor Dónal Lyons has said a 97% funding cut to a group which supports young people with disabilities in south Belfast must be reversed.

He was speaking after DUP and Sinn Féin councillors backed the cut of over £750,000 to funding proposed for Sólás.

Councillor Lyons initially proposed the funding at an area working group.

Councillor Lyons said:

“Anyone who knows about the incredible work that Sólás do in our city will be astounded at the cut to the proposed funding. This funding is vital so that they can continue to support children and young people with disabilities and special educational needs. I have worked with the group for a number of years and the difference they make to the lives of thousands of families in every part of this community is immeasurable.

“No public representative can be unaware of the pressure on autism services and the urgency there is to secure funding. For over ten years now Sólás have been forced to work in prefabs and borrowed spaces and waiting lists are growing for every one of their services. When I made the proposal to allocate the full funding I made the point about providing a fit for purpose service to meet the obvious and evidenced need.

“There are many excellent community groups across our city in dire need of funding, but I can think of few better causes than Sólás when it comes to issuing this money. For Sinn Féin and the DUP to suggest that other causes are worthier or that this decision should be accepted is crass in the extreme and there are serious questions that should be answered around the motivation for the decision to deny Sólás this funding.

“This decision will throw families with vulnerable children into disarray, this is a service that they rely on and I know that there will be extreme concern that something so important to their children could be ripped away from them.”

Font size