Young people have called for a permanent concert venue and a mental health drop in centre to address the issues currently faced by young people in the city.

They had their say on what they would like to see change in Derry as part of a 'Citizen's Jury' held at the Holywell Trust.

Evidence was presented on how the city was both succeeding and failing to cater for young people

The unique event took the form of a jury which was given a chance to consider the three most important things the city needed to focus on to improve life for young people.

A number of young people from local youth groups spoke at the event with also involved Reach Across and Extern.

Before the main portion of the event evidence was presented showing what young people saw as positive about life in Derry.

They mentioned events held in the city like MTV concerts and the large Halloween and St Patrick's Day celebrations and said that Derry had good schools, youth clubs and facilities like the Foyle Arena.

They said that young people congregating in groups were often stereotyped as being up to no good, while addressing more negative aspects of life in Derry.

It was also mentioned that young people have great difficulty in getting a job, event part-time and young people experienced problems with fitting in and bullying for being different.

They said that many areas of Derry were still deemed unsafe to visit for certain members of the community and that peer pressure was an issue.

Young people said that many of them considered leaving for University because Magee did not cater for their interests.

They gave their views on what they thought could help address these issues.

One of the main ideas put forward was improved mental health support, with suggestions for an immediate safe space without waiting lists.

The young people suggested that more of a youth voice being heard would produce results.

Emily McCloskey was one of the young people giving evidence at the event and she said that 'lack of opportunity leads to a bad reputation for Derry'.

She mentioned that Derry has no permanent concert venue and suggested the public come together and raise the money for one themselves.

Ms McCloskey said that it was 'amazing how far Derry has come' from the Troubles and gave credit to youth groups like Reach Across.

She also suggested the formation of an 'Under 18s Council' to 'give a voice to young people and get youth more involved in decision making'.

Also giving evidence was Sorcha McElwee who focused on the mental health issues suffered by young people in Derry.

She said that there were 'a lot of young people in Derry with no mental health support' dealing with anxiety, depression and a variety of issues.

Ms McElwee said that self harm was a particular issue and the mental health issues in Derry were exacerbated by drug and alcohol abuse.

She suggested the creation of a safe space accessible 24/7 by young people and properly staffed.

The event also heard from Kat Healy of Migrants Centre NI who said that the majority of young people in Derry see no future in the area due to lack of employment and infrastructure.

The jury of young people were then given half an hour to consider the evidence they had heard and returned with their verdicts which identified three areas which they saw as needing immediate improvement.

One of the areas identified was employment and education.

Their foreman said that 4000 places for Magee was simply not enough and their needed to be an effort to get 'relevant courses' offered by the University.

The jury said that their needed to be more jobs and infrastructure and that if it was built young people would be more likely to stay in Derry.

Drug and alcohol issues were also identified as an issue for younger people

They said a detox centre should be established for both younger and older people to get them away from 'negative influences in their life'.

More education was called for to make young people aware of the long term-damage drugs and alcohol can cause.

Mental health was identified as the most important issue by the jury.

They said that many of the other issues experienced by young people were connected to mental health.

The jury of young people said that the immediate establishment of a local support centre where young people could drop in for face to face help could potentially combat the issue.

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