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Ambition to replicate First Steps Women’s Centre in Upper Bann

Mr Michael McGoldrick (former Craigavon Councillor) with Carla Lockhart MLA

There is an long-term ambition to see the work of Dungannon’s First Steps Women’s Centre to be replicated in the Upper Bann area.

DUP MLA Carla Lockhart has commended the Chief Executive and staff of the Centre in Dungannon following her recent visit.

This was a fact finding mission for the Assembly member as she firmly believes there is a gap in the Upper Bann provision of services for women.

The centre aims to provide women with an avenue back into education and employment if they have been away for some time or never pursued their career previously.

Part funded by the European Union, Departments for Communities and Economy and supported by the local council the centre gives women all the assistance necessary to take the “First Step”.

From guidance on benefits, the right course and childcare when attending the course it is an invaluable resource in the Mid Ulster area and further afield.

The Upper Bann representative wants to see a similar type arrangement across the constituency to enable women locally to avail of these services.

Speaking on the matter Carla Lockhart said: “I want everyone to be able to avail of an educational programme and be part of the workforce.

“For varying reasons some women left school with no qualifications or stepped out of employment for family or personal reasons.

“This is a great facility where women can learn at their own pace in a comfortable environment and if need be avail of the childcare facilities when taking the classes.”

She added: “I cannot speak highly enough of the staff who are dedicated to this project and have given many years of loyal service to the Centre.

“It is my intention to look closer at the offering they provide and endeavour to replicate it within the area in conjunction with the many services that do exist.

“This is a long term ambition and plan within the area but one I am keen to explore and push if the need and the finances can be sourced.”

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