Head of Programmes, Belfast
Belfast was subject to conflict for 30 years and many programmes have focused on bringing communities together. Many of these provisions, however, have been short term projects targeting areas of high tension with a traditional presence of Loyalist and Republican paramilitary groups.
We are implementing a tried and tested method, in other areas of the UK, with a long-term approach centring on issues which young people face today. Through consultation we have found that regardless of religious or political beliefs young people growing up today face the same issues. These include; a lack of positive role models, experience of generations of worklessness, exposure to high levels of crime including threats from paramilitary groups, poor educational attainment, low ambitions/aspirations and low confidence.
Presently, we are up-scaling delivery areas to encompass four key areas in South and East Belfast in addition to our current coverage. The three key aims we hope to achieve over the term of the grant are:
- To broaden horizons and raise aspirations of young people across Belfast through access to free sports and art sessions, volunteering opportunities, work experience and training courses.
- Create a culture of social action and civic pride amongst young people, making interface areas better places to live. Accredited training will be used to help young people gain the skills they need to develop, plan and deliver social action projects in their community.
- Embed an evidence-based methodology of working with young people at risk and use to capacity build organisations to influence youth development policy and practice across Belfast
We will use best practice and influence policy makers to support our approach. We will also work with a university to undertake an external research piece.