Funding boost for Strabane AYE’s Youth Support Programme.

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Funding boost for Strabane AYE’s Youth Support Programme. thumbnail Young people and co-ordinators of the Strabane Youth Support Programme celebration event in the Fir Trees Hotel are pictured with Maoliosa McHugh and Paddy Harte

A STRABANE-based youth programme has been credited with turning lives around and received a major funding boost.

Launched last November with £91,888 from the International Fund for Ireland (IFI) and led by Strabane AYE, the 12-month Strabane Youth Support Programme has supported 26 individuals aged 16-25 to explore cultural identity, personal development, good relations, skills and employment opportunities.

The programme delivers a focused range of accredited and non-accredited training alongside good relations workshops, team building exercises and study visits.

The wide range of training has enabled young people to build confidence and practical skills around topics that interest them and plan how they want to change their lives.

The success of the programme was highlighted last night with confirmation that the International Fund for Ireland has awarded an additional £195,209 to extend and expand the initiative for two years.

The latest funding will enable 20 enable more people to enrol and for current participants to access additional further education and employability activities.

Paddy Harte, International Fund for Ireland board member said: "The young people involved in this project deserve credit for the achievements they have made through the Strabane Youth Support Programme.

"It is opening new pathways to learning, training and employment and helping turn young lives around.

"This project has successfully enabled people to reassess their prospects and take active steps to improve their prospects.

"We are very pleased to support it for another two years. I congratulate all the participants for accomplishments and know our investment will pay dividends for more people in Strabane, Clady and Glebe."

He continued: "The reality is that there are growing issues of disaffection among young people in many areas across Northern Ireland and that increases the risk of being drawn towards negative influences and a spiral of poor choices.

"This project tackles issues like anti-social behaviour, alcohol and drugs and provides young people with practical ways to change their prospects.

"Projects like this are critical and build momentum for change, stability and prosperity." Teresa Stewart, Strabane Youth Support Programme co-ordinator said: "We're addressing issues that deeply affect the lives of young people and equipping them with the knowledge, skills and competencies to build a more positive future for themselves and others.

"We've been impressed by how each participant has applied themselves within the programme and within their communities.

They've challenged and encouraged each other to keep taking brave steps forward and continually raise their aspirations.

"In the next two years we'll be extending and expanding our work to involve more young people in Strabane and wider areas. We're looking forward to enabling more people to raise expectations for themselves and claiming a stronger role within their community."

Funding to Strabane AYE was provided through the International Fund for Ireland's Personal Youth Development Programme which is managed by the Rural Development Council.


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