Derry youth group concerned it will struggle due to funding cutbacks

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A youth group on the outskirts of the city has warned it is currently struggling to deliver essential services to young people as a result of funding difficulties.

Eamonn O’Donnell, a Youth Support Worker, with the Enagh Youth Forum, in Strathfoyle, says the group may be left with no choice but to cut back on some of the services it provides in one of the most marginalised communities in the city.

The group currently provides a vital range of services, including mental health support, employment advice, a job ready programme, a wide range of diversionary activities, outdoor pursuits, and social and personal development and capacity building services.

Mr. O’Donnell said that for the first time since EYF came into existence seven years ago the group will struggle to deliver its summer intervention and outreach diversionary programme due to lack of funding.

“Whilst the group does have some existing funding it is ring fenced to enable us to deliver our World War 2 in Derry project and our community empowerment project which is about skilling up local residents to become more confident and resilient,” said Mr. O’Donnell.

“Over these past couple of years EYF has been dependent on The BreakOut Project which was a four year Big Lottery Funded project managed and administered by the Lettershandoney and District Development Group providing vital support for young people in a number of rural communities including Strathfoyle and Maydown. However this programme has now come to an end. We have a few applications currently pending but all of the current funding streams are hugely competitive and all of us here at EYF are really worried about the sustainability of the group moving forward.”

He said the forum is concerned that a lack of these services on the ground will impact negatively on the young people of Strathfoyle and the wider community will suffer as a result.

“However, Enagh Youth Forum will now endeavour to do it’s best to continue to meet the needs of local young people and to this end we will deliver what we can with the support of local volunteers for which we are grateful.

“We are aware that we are not alone in struggling to provide services at a grassroots level with limited resources and recognise that the current political impasse is having a detrimental impact on working class communities right across the North.”