Charity leader speaks out for disadvantaged youth projects

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‘Education is the key to addressing poverty’, says Dr Mohammed Ali

A CHARITY leader is hoping the Government will not axe vital funds for disadvantaged people in its spending cuts to be announced this week.

Dr Mohammed Ali, founder and chief executive of Bradford-based QED-UK, praised the Government’s plans to spend £7 billion to boost education opportunities for children and young adults from the poorest backgrounds.

Deputy PM, Nick Clegg, announced that schools would receive cash over the next four years in order to reduce class sizes and pay for one-to-one tuition.

While Dr Ali said he was delighted that the plans would benefit young people, he expressed worries that projects set up to help disadvantaged people may be slashed in a bid to save funds.

QED-UK, which works to improve opportunities for ethnic minorities and other disadvantaged people, has set up a successful school madrassa project which benefits more than 3,000 Muslim youngsters.

The madrassa (supplementary schools) project was funded for three years by the Department for Education and Skills’ Children, Young People and Families Grant Programme and is continuing to strengthen communication between madrassas and schools in three regions of England. Dr Ali said he hoped initiatives like these would continue to improve the educational achievement levels of young people.

Dr Ali said: “I’m really pleased with Mr Clegg’s announcement as I believe that education is the key to addressing poverty, but I hope the Government will protect important grass-roots community groups and be equally generous towards disadvantaged groups as they have been with education.”

“Groups like ours play a huge role in helping disadvantaged children – our madrassa literacy project is run with involvement of 135 primary schools with 45 religious organisations, with the aim of improve links between them. It would be a great shame to lose funding for great projects like these.”

Some educational projects deemed non-essential, including youth and art groups, are expected to be cut to increase the funding.

Dr Ali added: “We have already seen thousands of public sector jobs cut and plans to take away child benefits from over one million families. To cut back funds for disadvantaged people would be the nail in the coffin. They are often overlooked.”

The Government’s comprehensive spending review takes place on Wednesday.

QED-UK is a registered charity that aims to work towards a harmonious and cohesive society in which opportunity does not depend on ethnic origin, race, religion or gender. For more information go to www.qed-uk.org.

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