Bangor West Councillor welcomes announcement that the Promote Learning Disability Service has been saved from closure

Cllr McKee said "I am delighted that charity & social enterprise, Orchardville have signed a contract to take over the running of the Promote Day Opportunities Service in Bangor. It's disgraceful that vital day opportunity placements for 52 adults had been under threat."

Cllr McKee continued "There has been a callous disregard shown by the South Eastern Trust in their handling of this difficult situation, but this news has brought great relief to the families. As someone who has worked in Learning Disability Day Opportunity Services for over a decade, I know how important places like Promote are to those who attend. The distress and uncertainty caused to all including families, staff and volunteers is shameful. It’s appalling that hard-working staff have been at risk of redundancy after providing such valuable opportunities for those who attend. Action Mental Health had been left in a difficult position, unable to continue to cover the increasing costs to provide this service when uplifts from the Health Trusts and Department were not forthcoming."

Cllr McKee said "Although the focus of this issue is local to Bangor, we cannot lose sight of the crisis in public financing all over Northern Ireland and the punishment budget introduced by the Tory Secretary for State, that has led to services like this one, being at risk of closure. This is a prime example of why Northern Ireland needs a return of the Executive at Stormont. With a potential return of Government here, I hope we can see the end to ransom holding of much needed pay rises for staff that has been a political choice. We need to see work done to tackle unstainable public finances that are causing crisis in health, charity, community and voluntary sectors"