Year 8 young people from St Paul’s College Kilrea and Dalriada Ballymoney are beginning their new school term on a high having embarked on a six month project of sport and cultural identity.
Their participation signifies the start of the North East PEACE III Schools Based Project across the North East area. The project is funded under the European Union’s PEACE III Programme and is managed on behalf of the Special EU Programmes Body by the North East PEACE III Partnership.
These young people from Kilrea and Ballymoney are the first of 22 post primary schools across the North East to benefit from European PEACE III funding which will give them access to work towards sustaining peace and developing leadership skills.
The Introduction day, hosted by Dalriada, involved team building ranging from drama to giant puzzles. They were even seen walking (and jumping) around on sky runners! On a more thoughtful note, the young people began to reflect positively on what an ideal future would look like for their local areas. Their ideas included more parks, music, sports, but most importantly peace and friendship between all communities.
The big question was – ‘How do we make this vision a reality?’
Andrew Surgenor, teacher Co-Ordinator for Dalriada School, spoke about the skills developed during the day, and the benefit of this cross community work: “Pupils from both schools worked together, developing peer leadership and social skills. Young people from different backgrounds that do not ordinarily interact with each other had the opportunity to mix, work and have fun, making new friends along the way!”
Aine Bradley, Principal of St Paul’s College commented on the North East PEACE III programme: “As a school we are delighted that our young people had the opportunity to be involved in such a worthwhile and rewarding project. ”
The project continued with the young people taking part in an action packed 2 day residential, where they engaged in a wide range of team based activities, themed around Peace and Reconciliation and developing strong leadership skills.
With initial introductions made, they will this term engage in a sports programme, cultural visits and a second residential exploring cultural diversity.