‘Beacon of Hope’ for young people from across Derry and Donegal

Participants on the Youth Ni's Beacon Programme pictured at the Guildhall.
Participants on the Youth Ni's Beacon Programme pictured at the Guildhall.

The achievements of twenty-five young people living with a disability and enrolled on YouthAction NI’s Beacon Programme have been celebrated locally.

Under the Beacon Programme young people complete leadership development, good relations and citizenship training and also undertake social action and enterprise activities.

The EU Peace IV funded cross-community initiative is delivered through Derry City and Strabane District Council and is aimed at young people living in the local Council and Donegal border area.

Speaking about the project, one 23-year-old participant living with Autism said: “Often young people with a disability are overlooked in helping shape the future of our city.

“In this programme we got to explore our identity, the culture of our city and meet new people”.

Another participant, aged 21, said: “I’ve never been involved in a peace programme before and I really enjoyed learning about the history of my city.”

The event was hosted by the Deputy Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Derek Hussey, who also entertained the group by playing the drums.

“It was a real privilege to host this event which is a celebration of some of the most remarkable young people living in our local community, their talents, aspirations and their creativity,” he said.

“It was so inspirational to see how these young people overcome the challenges of living with a disability to make such a vital contribution to the rich diversity and culture of our City and District.”

Connor McGilloway, youth worker with YouthAction NI said: “The Beacon Programme aims to inspire and equip young people to explore their culture and develop leadership skills through fun, informal activities.

“As well as meeting young people from a range of backgrounds, one of the highlights of the programme was our work with Older People North West.”

Speaking at the event Fiona Lafferty, Project Officer DCSDC PEACE IV Team, praised the achievement of the young people, “It is so encouraging to hear from the young people about their achievements and experiences of working together for the first time. We are delighted to be supporting YouthAction’s Beacon project through PEACEIV funding managed by the SEUPB,” she said.

For more information on the Beacon Programme contact Connor on 02871318854 or via e-mail at: connor@youthaction.org.