Hope For Youth NI has helped 21 year-old Mairead Parke become a more confident person.
Mairead, from the Buncrana Road area of Derry, is currently taking part in the Hope For Youth NI project in Creggan Country Park. The project started in July and will end with a presentation of certificates later this month.
“I’ve volunteered at Creggan Country Park for a few years so when I heard they were running the Hope For Youth NI project I decided to give it a go,” said Mairead.
Hope For Youth NI is a cross community scheme that focuses on disadvantaged areas throughout North Ireland.
More than 50 young people aged between 12 and 25 took part in the scheme in Creggan Country Park. All of the young people who took part in the project were from different parts of Derry.
“When I started the project I was extremely shy and basically just kept myself to myself,” said Mairead.
“The project has really helped me to become a much more confident person. I recently had an interview for a job. If I had have gone for the interview before the project I probably wouldn’t have got it but because of the improvement in my self-belief I was successful.”
The focus of the scheme in Creggan Country Park was on outdoor activities.
The young people helped to plant flower bulbs, shrubs, build bird and bat houses and went canoeing.
“I am really sad that the project is coming to an end,” said Mairead. “I’ve met so many different people and I will definitely miss it when it is over.”
Karen Healy, Environmental Officer at Creggan Country Park said she found working with the group of young people extremely enjoyable.
“It was great to see so many young people from across the city engaging in the Hope For Youth NI project.
“A lot of the skills the young people learned are skills they will be able to use throughout their lives. Projects like this are essential for the development of young people and I would really like to see more of them run out in the future,” added Karen.