Youngsters from the Ballymoney district are being given a unique insight into the fast-moving world of ‘blues and twos’!
The town is one of three areas in the province which has been chosen to pilot a Youth Volunteer Academy by the Police Service of Northern Ireland in partnership with the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service.
The dynamic initiative is aimed at local 12-18 year-olds. They will meet on a weekly basis to gain a practical insight into emergency and public services through a variety of structured activities. Local youth members attend the YVA Ballymoney Branch in the Old School House.Chief Superintendent Chris Noble, who is leading the YVA within PSNI, said: “The Academy gives young people a say in the issues that affect them most, an opportunity to influence social change and provides them with skills and accreditations to support them in future employment.”
Chief Inspector Catherine Magee, YVA Ballymoney Branch Leader, added: “There has been a full timetable of activities, including a mock ‘investigation’ into an armed robbery where they were able to test their detective skills, a visit to the newly designed Ambulance Station in Ballymena and also visits to the ambulance and police service call management centres to see at first-hand what happens when someone phones 999, as well as first aid courses and so much more.”
John McPoland, Media and Communications Manager with the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service, said: “We recognise that young people are the future leaders of our communities and we hope that engagement with our staff will inspire them to become more socially aware and prepared to promote their own communities in a positive way.”
Bailey, 15, who attends the Ballymoney YVA, said: “I really enjoy the YVA. It is mostly hands-on activities that you wouldn’t normally get to do or experience.”