Thousands of parents and children benefit from cross-border programme - Derry conference told

Almost 3,000 children have benefited from an inter-generational cross- border programme

Thousands of parents and children benefit from cross-border programme - Derry conference told

Group pictured at the SOOC conference held in the City Hotel. Included, second from left, is Stormont Junior Minister, Foyle DUP MLA Gary Middleton, who was a guest speaker at the event.

One thousand six hundred parents and almost 3,000 children have benefited from an inter-generational cross- border programme, a major conference held in Derry was told.

Shaping Ourselves and Our Children’ (SOOC), the cross-border parenting programme celebrated the success of their project by presenting evidence on project outcomes at their SOOC ‘Social and Cultural Diversity and Family Life Conference’ held in the City Hotel.

The programme which is supported by the European Union’s PEACE IV programme and managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) was developed by the Lifestart Foundation and its partners: Lifestart Services CLG, Lifestart Supporting Parents Leitrim Sligo and West Cavan CLG, the Dunluce Family Centre, Barnardo's NI ( Strabane), and The Junction.

Match-funding for the project has been provided by the Executive Office, Northern Ireland and the Dept. of Rural and Community Development, Ireland.

Guest speakers at the conference included Junior Stormont Ministers DUP Foyle MLA Gary Middleton and Sinn Fein MLA Declan Kearney, Dr Niall Muldoon, Ombudsman for Children, Ireland, Professor Siobhan O’Neill, Mental Health Sciences Ulster University, Northern Ireland and Gina McIntyre, chief executive of the Special EU Programmes Body. The event was chaired by Dr Pauline Mc Clenaghan, executive director Lifestart Foundation Ltd .

SOOC is an inter- generational programme aimed at promoting recon- ciliation and good relations by addressing the site where identity, values and social attitudes are initially formed and shaped. i.e. in the home, where the parent is the key actor and where caregiver/ child relationships and interactions are foundational to child development and learning.

Mr Middleton said: “I want to congratulate The Lifestart Foundation and all the partners who helped deliver the Shaping Ourselves and Our Children project as part of the PEACE IV programme.

“The Lifestart Foundation has 35 years’ experience in delivering quality parenting education and family support. The combined knowledge and expertise of the delivery partners has enabled this important project to be delivered successfully.

Mr Middleton concluded: “I welcome the evaluation report which will create a legacy for the programme and ensure that the learning from the project can be shared throughout our society.”

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