by Marianne Flood

A group of disadvantaged young people in Derry have teamed up with a recovering alcoholic to make a hard hitting film about their lives.

The residents of Jefferson Court supported housing took part in the project which was delivered by ‘Headliners’, a charity which gives young people a voice through journalism.

Their film ‘Glass Half Full-Life Beyond Addiction’ looks as the misconceptions people have about young people and alcoholics.

It centres on the story of Alasdair Ferrans who lost everything to alcohol addiction, but managed to get his life back on track at after he moved into Damien House.

In the film Mr Ferrans explains he came from a good family and has a successful career in the oil industry before the disease took hold of him.

Erin Bowen, a resident of Jefferson House who interviewed Mr Ferrans for the film, told the Derry News she was surprised to hear his story.

“It was interesting to hear what he had to say,” she explained.

“Not everyone is the same.”

The young people were also asked to give their views on their life in Jefferson Court and their hopes for the future.

“It was the first time I’ve taken part in something like this,” said Rhianan Holloway, who is also resident of Jefferson Court.

“It’s definitely something I’d like to do again.”

Audrey Mullan is a Project Worker and Journalist with Headliners which is funded through the Big Lottery.

Speaking about the project, she said that it was vital that the young people involved in the project had their say on its direction.

“It was very important that the young people had their say in the message behind the film,” she said.

“We tried to give them ownership of the project and brain stormed about the questions we would ask.

“They want to tell people ‘see us for who we are don’t see us for where we live’.

“I’d also like to thank Alasdair Ferrans for taking part.

“If more people had the courage to come forward and talk about alcoholism people would understand it better.

Martin McConnellogue, manager of Jefferson Court, said the project helped the residents pick up valuable skills and grow in confidence.

“The film helped to dismantle the myths people have about young people living in supported accommodation and people struggling with alcoholism,” he told the Derry News.

“The young people who took part were very creative and they really engaged with it.

“It was a great opportunity for them to work together and to work with older people.”

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