Derry youths get chance to shine and give back with new project
A major new project is under way to give young people from across Derry the opportunity to avail of valuable experiences and learn new skills in a range of settings.
Groups from numerous areas are involved in the Bespoke Intervention Programme, which offers employment and training opportunities, positive community engagement work and diversionary activities, while developing a sense of identity and belonging.
John Lynch from Long Tower Youth Club said: “Due to the directive given by the Minister for Education on March 20, in which the youth service was stood down, we as a service were challenged to adapt and develop new approaches as we were unable to offer any form of direct engagement or outdoor education to young people, due to the Covid 19 pandemic.
“However as a result of collaborative working between the voluntary, community, Education Authority Youth Service, and the Department of Justice, the Bespoke Intervention Worker has developed a collaborative working model to enabled targeted interventions and diversionary work to take place.
“This model provides the mechanism for staff across the city to engage with young people directly and in response to the individual, group and/or community need, whilst ensuring that we adhere to government guidance and good practice.”
There are four elements to the new EA Youth Service funded programme which are as follows:
*Training and Employment – this will see 60 young people across the identified areas being employed for 15 hours per week, thus providing a positive sense of identity and belonging and increased social capita. The young people will also be involved in developmental group work which addresses risk taking behaviour and explores the impact this has on the individual, family and communities.
*Eat Well Live Well – The extension of Eat Well Live Well, will see the 60 young people employed attend the distribution hub at Long Tower Youth Club, where they will complete health and safety training, food hygiene and be involved in the preparation and distribution of over 1000 food hampers per week across the city and district.
*Outdoor Education – This is a collaborative approach between EA and Voluntary Youth Service as well as Creggan Country Park, where those involved in the project have created the space for targeted outdoor education to take place five days per week in accordance with Covid19 and sporting governing bodies regulations. Again the young employees will be an integral part of the roll out of the programme at Creggan Country Park, as they will gain experience and undergo training in various areas such as first aid, foundation safety and rescue and health and safety etc.
*Community Engagement – Young people will work within their own communities and support the delivery of community responses, thus allowing the community to see these young people in a different light, whilst providing the opportunity for young people to give back through generosity. This in turn will enable the young people to develop a deeper sense of belonging, responsibility and identity within their community.
The organisations involved in the roll out are: Long Tower YC, Youth First YC, Our Streets, Bishop Street YC, Pilots Row YC, Start Programme - St Mary’s YC, Matchbox YC, Creggan Youth Drop In, Rosemount Resource Centre, Rosemount Youth Club, Glen Development Initiative, Ballymagroarty Youth Club, Shantallow Youth Centre, Shantallow Community Residents Association, Lenamore YC, On Street Community Youth, Creggan Country Park, Youth Engagement Service, and EA Youth Service.