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Molenbeek youth centre Centrum West wins takes Welzijnzorg’s Poverty Prize

A youth centre that works with young people from one of the most deprived areas of the country has won this Poverty Exclusion Prize. The prize is awarded each year by the not-for-profit group Welzijnzorg to an organisation or an initiative that through its work has helped those living in poverty. On Thursday afternoon the Flemish Minister responsible for the fight against poverty Benjamin Dalle (Christian democrat) presented the prize to D'Broej Centrum West. 

The youth centre was awarded the prize for its work with vulnerable children and young people. A total of 45 organisations from the 5 Flemish provinces and Brussels had been nominated for the price. They organisations make leisure time activities, culture, sport, holidays or associations and clubs more accessible for those on low incomes and in so doing help counter social exclusion.

This year the focus was on the right to free-time and recreation. A number of obstacles, not least financial constraints, mean that people living in poverty are often excluded from taking part in the kind of leisure activities many of up take for granted.

From the 45 nominees the jury selected 5 finalists. The youth centre Centrum West, that is part of the not-for-profit group D'Broej vzw came out as the winner. Centrum West’s efforts to provided useful leisure time activities for the children and young people of Sint-Jans-Molenbeek and to promote their physical and mental well-being received praise from the jury. In addition to this the youth centre lobbies the local and regional authorities to address the needs and issue faced by young people in the area.  

Centrum West’s Coordinator Rudy Raes told VRT News that "There is clearly a great need for what we do and this is reflected by the many people that sign up for activities and the waiting lists. We are unable to meet the need that exists. By giving children an young people a place in youth work we are able to give them a future”. 

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