Children’s Department says future funding will depend on implementation of Tobacco Free policy
Wednesday 23rd July 2014
Dr James Reilly, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs has today announced that he has requested his department to review its funding arrangements to take account of the Tobacco Free Ireland policy. The Minister made the announcement as he sanctioned payments of €250,000 for children’s play and recreation projects across Ireland. 19 local authorities will benefit from funding for projects under the Capital Grant Scheme for Play and Recreation for new and innovative play and recreation projects and the improvement of existing facilities. “Play and recreation are fundamental to the development of children and young people. They also contribute to their creativity and wellbeing” said Minister Reilly.
The projects, funded by the Department, include the refurbishment and development of six urban, suburban and public housing play areas in Dublin city; the provision of new, accessible equipment for a playground built in the 1970’s in Athy; the creation of an innovative, natural playground spaces and outdoor learning environments in Tyrrelstown; the development of a recreational space and multi-use games area for children and teenagers in Newcastle West; and the development of several playgrounds and recreational spaces from green field sites.
Minister Reilly said in future, applications for funding will face an additional criterion related to Tobacco Free Ireland. “The Government has made clear its intention to progress policies that reduce the prevalence of smoking amongst all ages. I have made a particular point of stressing the need to stop children from ever starting to smoke in the first place and we pursue a policy of attempting to de-normalise smoking for young people. For that reason in future I will request that funding for projects such as children’s playgrounds will be contingent on the relevant local authority implementing a policy of ensuring the projects are no smoking areas. The importance of de-normalising smoking in the eyes of children can’t be over emphasised.”
“My Department worked closely with the Local Authority Play and Recreation Network to develop criteria to focus this year’s Capital Grant Scheme for Play and Recreation on projects, which are inclusive, accessible, safe and take into account the views of children and young people”, added the Minister.
Meanwhile Professor Luke Clancy, the Director General of the Tobacco Free Research Institute Ireland, welcomed the review of funding arrangements saying that “it should help to further de-normalise smoking while preventing exposure to second hand smoke and prevention of litter which research from TFRI had shown was a benefit of Fingal Co Council going smoke-free in its parks”.
The Minister noted that the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA) Play and Recreation Capital Grants Scheme was oversubscribed and extremely competitive. Successful applications were those that best met the criteria developed for Scheme. Matched funding is being provided in each case by the relevant Local Authority.
“I would like to thank all of those who applied for funding under this Scheme, and to pay tribute to the commitment of the community groups and Local Authorities who are working together to improve the quality of the play and recreation facilities available to children and young people in Ireland",concluded Minister Reilly.
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