Youth no longer detached as project helps change lives

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DOZENS of young people from Ballymoney and Moyle came together this week to celebrate a major project that has helped to transform their lives.

Detached Youth Project celebration event was held at the Bushtown House Hotel in Coleraine last Thursday and provided the chance to recognise the hard work of 12 communities and around 160 young people aged 14 – 25, who developed lasting relationships with members from the other community.

The young people from Ballymoney involved in the project were from the villages of Cloughmills and Loughguile. Under the guidance of youth workers, Tommie Linton and Debra Gribbon, the group from Ballymoney met 25 times, engaging in a host of activities including a five day educational visit to Poland in December 2012 and residentials in both Dublin and Corrymeela.

To complete the project they recently completed four murals that represented themselves, their community and their interests. Two murals will now be displayed in each village

This exciting and challenging initiative was delivered by the Northern Ireland Youth Forum (NIYF) and funded under the European Union’s PEACE III Programme which is managed on behalf of the Special EU Programmes Body by the North East PEACE III Partnership.

Over the past two years, the young people, many of whom had no meaningful contact with the other side of the community, have taken part in training, cultural activities, residentials and cross border visits that have helped change their perception of other faiths, races and cultures.

The event also included a video premiere of the project, presentations by some of the young people involved, presentation of certificates and a drama performance by the Coleraine Simon Group.

The Detached Youth Project was one of the most ambitious ever undertaken by the NIYF, which put in place experienced detached workers to engage with young people, other providers and the local community. Each community had access to resources, outdoor learning and the skills of film and multi-media company BNL Productions to enhance their learning from the project.

For more information about the Detached Youth Project contact Neil Symington on 028 9033 1990, email neils@niyf.org or visit www.northeastpeace.com