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Derry's youth council hard at work online during lockdown

The North West Ministry of Youth have continued to meet using video conferencing

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Project Manager of the North West Ministry of Youth Project , Barry Fennell, (pictured top left)

A youth project based in Derry's council area is continuing its work on the changes they would like to see for young people, despite the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

The North West Ministry of You th Project has 35 members across Derry and Strabane who have formed a youth council and are currently putting together a manifesto for change.

The cross border and cross community project  is for young people aged 14 to 18 and allows them to be the voice for the young people in the North West.

It normally includes residential and activity based work, study visits, local workshops, confidence building and skills development.

However, these were all cancelled due to the lockdown.

Project Manager of the North West Ministry of You th Project , Barry Fennell, decided to use video conferencing technology to allow the group to continue to come together and share ideas.

The The North West Ministry  of Youth has successfully managed to harness the new technology to continue their work and has now set up a series of sub committees to look at employability, learning, health, sport and the environment.

As the project progresses the group will put together a 'youth manifesto' which will lay out the changes they would like to see in the Derry City and Strabane District Council area.

Mr Fennell said the group have adapted remarkably well to the changes in their circumstances.

"They have been brilliant in terms of their ability to continue and they are very switched on.

"We are still having our weekly meetings through 'Zoom' and that allows us to keep those connections at this time and try and continue with this project as well."

Co-chair of the group Plunkett Roarty, who is in Year 5 at Lumen Christi College, said video conferencing is the next best thing to meeting face to face.

"Due to the coronavirus crisis we have had to use resources such as Zoom to stay in contact and come together to share ideas and tackle the key issues," he said.

Plunkett is part of the 'Department for Health and Well-being' which is tackling issues such as mental health and positive body image.

"At the minute we are at the discussion stage about plans and initiatives to tackle that," he explained.

"Video conferencing is a useful tool and we are still able to get a lot done."

The members of the group are also enjoying the chance to socialise online.

"With school being off and all my sports training being cancelled the Zoom meetings are a chance to meet up and see familiar faces who are facing the same issues as you," said Plunkett.
North West Ministry of Youth – Youth Voices Project is delivered by Co-operation Ireland and Education Authority. This opportunity is funded by the EU’s PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body. 

Match-funding has been provided by the Executive Office in Northern Ireland and the Department of Rural and Community Development in Ireland.

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