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Environment and Social Committee visits Rhyl to see back-to-work schemes

Added 25-Nov-2009

A delegation from the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly's Environmental and Social Affairs Committee this week visited Rhyl in North Wales as part of the Committee's ongoing inquiry into schemes and projects operating in the UK and Ireland designed to return unemployed people to the workforce.

The Committee's focus was on the Rhyl City Strategy, one of 17 UK schemes to tackle unemployment in areas furthest from the Government's aim of 80 per cent employment.

Rhyl is the smallest of the City Strategy areas, which generally cover major cities and urban areas. Despite this, Rhyl contains the poorest ward in the United Kingdom, which has an unemployment rate over 50 per cent.

The Committee visited a number of places on the front line of poverty in Rhyl, and spoke to those working closely with the most "hard to reach" groups.

In particular, the Committee spoke to people at Rhyl Hub, which provides education, training and leisure for young people in one of the poorest areas in Rhyl. They also visited Rhyl Football Club, which runs a scheme to train those off work, and Rhyl College, which has a number of programmes for training people and returning the unemployed to work. In addition, the Committee heard from those on the Board of the Rhyl City Strategy and the Welsh Assembly Government.

Commenting on the visit, Lord Dubs, Chairman of Committee D, said "The Committee saw for itself a number of first class projects aimed at helping the unemployed get back to work. The Rhyl City Strategy is exciting and effective. We were impressed by the good cooperation between the voluntary sector, businesses, Rhyl College, local government and the Welsh Assembly Government. Above all we felt that there were a number of really dedicated people who were helping disadvantaged youngsters to find work."

The Committee will be undertaking similar visits to Belfast and Dublin, and will report to the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly meeting in Cavan in February.




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