A young member of Strathfoyle’s Enagh Youth Forum (EYF) has said its new ‘Youth and Community Support Hub’ will help it continue to pioneer youth engagement in Derry’s north eastern suburbs.
Kaelin Pyper, aged 14, speaking at the launch of the new premises in Parkmore Drive, said: “I live here in Strathfoyle and I have recently joined EYF within the past six months and have taken part in a number of activities and short courses which I really enjoyed. This has helped increase my confidence and self-esteem and connect me with my local community.”
Kaelin said she was looking forward to taking on new opportunities in the years ahead.
“This new youth-led support hub will greatly improve EYF’s service delivery in terms of improved accessibility for local young people and the wider community and we are now better placed and more grounded in the heart of Strathfoyle,” she said.
At the launch this Christmas the forum unveiled a new ‘Model of Youth Engagement’ as well as a ‘New Outreach Support Service’. Uniquely, the model is heavily influenced by the late Brazilian educationalist Paulo Freire who was an advocate of self-education and enabling social consciousness among working class communities, said Paul Hughes, an EYF youth worker.
“Young people, staff and volunteers will continue to develop this model of youth engagement throughout 2019 and it is our intention to promote this model further amongst other community based youth groups and organisations based in the North West and beyond so that other young people can benefit,” he said.
Michaela Doherty, EYF chair, thanked the Housing Executive whose Community Cohesion Fund supported the project. A presentation was also made to local volunteers.
Ms. Doherty said: “The funding has enabled young people to value and give recognition to a number of local people who they felt deserved recognition for their positive contribution to the local area. On behalf of the staff, volunteers and committee team at EYF, I would like to thank the NIHE for funding what has been a very worthwhile project enabling and empowering young people to be ‘Champions for Positive Change’.”
Kaelin reserved special mention for long-standing youth worker Eamon ‘Dicey’ O’Donnell.
“Eamon has been with EYF from its creation and in that time he has supported hundreds of young people on a range of issues and helped to develop Strathfoyle into the positive place it is today,” she said.