International Fund for Ireland Chairman, Paddy Harte is pictured along with Sperrin Cultural Awareness Board Members ©Press Eye/Darren Kidd
A Magherafelt group has been awarded over £96,000 to continue its much praised cross community youth programme.
Sperrin Cultural Awareness Association will use the five figure sum to run its Good Relations And Social Personal Employment Development (GRASPED)’ project with 10 young people from Magherafelt and Randalstown.
Participants will engage in a programme of good relations and personal development training and workshops to develop their capacity, confidence and skills.
The money is part of a £2,337,765 pot by the International Fund for Ireland to provide further intervention and support for marginalised communities across the north.
The latest funding allocation will support 23 projects in their peace and reconciliation work across Northern Ireland and the Southern border counties.
A significant proportion of funding will focus on the Fund’s Personal Youth Development Programme (PYDP).
Launched in 2015, the programme works with 16-25 year olds who have faced a range of complex issues including; poor mental health, substance abuse, homelessness, difficult family backgrounds and been in or close to the criminal justice system.
Commenting on the latest funding package, IFI Chairman, Paddy Harte says: “The IFI’s work is more relevant than ever. The continued lack of political leadership alongside an increase in hard line opinions on Brexit and dissident activity means that many communities feel more isolated and entrenched with little support on the ground to deliver positive outcomes.
“The IFI is delivering interventions and prepared to go where other agencies cannot to offer better pathways for engagement and growth. Our PYDP programme in particular is like no other youth initiative. It is tailored to the individual, develops much needed life skills, instils confidence and prepares young people for positive life choices and employment.”
The IFI’s Personal Youth Development Programme has engaged with over 1800 young people with 3278 accreditations received, 528 progressing into education and training with 390 securing employment.
Sperrin Cultural Awareness Association will use £96,094 for its ‘GRASPED’ project. It will work with young people in Magherafelt and Randalstown areas on a cross-community basis. Participants will engage in a programme of good relations and personal development training and workshops to develop their capacity, confidence and skills.
Mr Harte adds: “Young people today face more challenges than ever and they often feel that society has let them down.
“Growing tensions within communities alongside high levels of social and economic deprivation all work hand in hand to spur on those opposed to the Peace Process who continue to try and radicalise young people through paramilitary recruitment.
“We will continue to engage with those who have benefited little from the Good Friday Agreement and help young people to transform and become positive role models within their local communities.”
The Chairman took the opportunity to thank the international donors to the Fund - the European Union and the Governments of the United States of America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand - for their support.
Further information about all the beneficiaries from the International Fund for Ireland’s latest funding package is available here: www.internationalfundforireland.com or Twitter @FundforIreland
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