Fury over project closure

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USERS of a project in North Lanarkshire which helps young homeless people turn their lives around have reacted with fury to the decision to close it.

Jointly funded by the Scottish Government and North Lanarkshire Council, ACCESS teamed up with a number of partner agencies to offer the likes of work placements, vocational skills and personal development as well as support and advice.

Beginning life as a two-year pilot project called Providing Employability Opportunities through Positive Learning Experiences in 1999, it became ACCESS in 2002 and was based in the Dalziel Workspace, Motherwell, until the building closed in 2008 and it was forced to seek new accommodation in Coatbridge.

North Lanarkshire Council has decided to integrate the scheme into its community learning and development department and the four staff members have each been given an alternative job in the community hubs.

There will be no financial saving for the council and users of the service are unhappy at the change.

In a group statement to the Motherwell Times they said: “The council should be hanging their heads in shame with their decision to close the ACCESS project.

“ACCESS was a lifeline to homeless people like us in North Lanarkshire. The support we received helped many of us to improve our lives and gave us chances that we didn’t have in the past.

“We would like to know why after nearly 10 years the council closed the services as it was the only one that really worked for is.”

The council say all the services that ACCESS offered will still be available.

Full story in April 7 edition of Motherwell Times.