NDP pushing for more money for Surrey anti-gang program

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NDP pushing for more money for Surrey anti-gang program

NDP Leader John Horgan has promised an NDP government would support annual funding for Surrey's Wraparound Program which helps students out of what he calls the "pipeline" that would take them into gang life.

"I was on the wrong track when I was in high school and I was saved by teachers and mentors who stepped up for me," he said Friday at a news conference.

The program for at-risk youth has been dealing with a wait-list of up to 30 kids, despite a one time financial boost of $270,000 in April of 2015 from the B.C. government.

Horgan says that would change under an NDP government.

"Our commitment today is a B.C. NDP government will fund a $500,000 contribution to the Wraparound Program so the funding can be stable and secure."

Two years ago, the federal government signed a contract to provide $3.5 million over five years to fund the prevention program but its financial future beyond that is unclear.

Surrey's Wraparound launched in 2009 as a partnership between the Surrey School District, the city of Surrey and the RCMP with the goal of bonding youth to their school, community and home by building positive relationships.

Kids as young as 11 years old are identified as candidates for the program through schools or by the police.

Valuable program

Former RCMP Inspector Garry Begg, who is running for the provincial NDP in the riding of Surrey-Guildford, says it's a valuable program. 

"I know that it works. And it has actually changed the lives of young people. I also know that every year it's been a battle to secure funding."

The B.C. NDP has criticized Victoria for not providing more money as the number of shootings in Surrey dramatically increased in 2015 more than doubling the number in 2014.