‘Lifehack’ changing perceptions and turning young lives around

IFI Board Member, Paddy Harte; Seamus Callaghan and Megan Morrison launch music track 'Not Alone' at  Lifehack's  celebration event. (photo by Lorcan Doherty)
IFI Board Member, Paddy Harte; Seamus Callaghan and Megan Morrison launch music track 'Not Alone' at Lifehack's celebration event. (photo by Lorcan Doherty)

A unique youth project in Derry has used the power of music and creativity to help steer young people on the margins of society towards a brighter future, with local youths even recording a debut single.

The ‘Lifehack’ project, which is part of Creggan Enterprises Ltd, is supported through the International Fund for Ireland’s Personal Youth Development Programme (PYDP) and works with young people from across the city.

Over the last year, the project has worked hard to change perceptions of marginalised young people and encouraged them to make improved life choices through training, workshops, team building exercises, creative technology projects and activities.

Thanks to some top music industry tips from talented songwriter Paddy Nash, the project has ended year one on a high by writing, recording and producing a powerful music single and video entitled ‘Not Alone’.

Paddy Harte, IFI Board member attended the celebration event. He said: “It takes courage and commitment to step out of your comfort zone and embrace positivity and change. The fund offers opportunities to those whom society has left behind and offers new pathways to learning, training and employment that can help turn young lives around.”

The PYDP Programme targets young people aged 16-25, many of whom are vulnerable and face problems such as economic and social exclusion, substance use, homelessness, challenging lifestyles, involvement with the justice system, and may suffer from low-self esteem and mental health issues.

Richie McRory, Lifehack Project Co-ordinator described ‘Not Alone’ as “a very powerful and creative piece of good relations and development work” which explores emotive issues and themes.

“Participants worked closely with local musicians Paddy Nash and Diane Greer to explore their own identity over a four month period. They engaged in structured music writing sessions, basic guitar lessons and learned the fundamentals of song composition.”

Over the past year, the IFI has invested over £3.3m into 30 PYDP projects, with over 300 young people participating. One participant Seamus Callaghan said: “Making the music video was a very positive experience, it gave us an opportunity to really bond as a group. We wrote the lyrics, designed the artwork and sleeve and participated in the video production and editing. It helped us share our feelings, build confidence and produce something special to us. I am very grateful to have taken part and worked with so many great people.”

Watch the music video at www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_1SsvMUoBU