The Youth Engagement Project is working closely with long-standing community-based project partners in Inner East Belfast and in the Ardoyne/Woodvale area of North Belfast in order to target, recruit and retain young people aged between 12 and 18 years (with a degree of flexibility at either end of the age spectrum depending on need) into the programme.
The project is delivering an innovative and effective programme of diversionary work with young people, based on methods that have been tried and tested, that will support the first phase of the Belfast Youth Engagement Project to:
- Engage with "hard to reach" young people involved in antisocial behaviour, or on the periphery of, local dissident/paramilitary/emerging gang culture to reduce incidents of violence and create alternative pathways to improve their life chances through the delivery of specific interventions.
- Improve the quality of life in communities at interface areas by addressing issues with anti-social behaviour and disengaged youth
- Deliver a focused and specific project of intervention and support to identified young people
- Support the development of an all agency, sustainable model of collaborative youth engagement, that will seek to address issues at interface areas in a more effective way
- Help to support delivery of an approach by commissioning the community and voluntary sector to deliver projects that will address gaps in statutory service provision and will enable “on the ground” targeted support
The project has been designed and developed using a bottom up approach through consultation with partner groups. Active partner participation and local involvement remains a central feature of the programme.
The project runs to 31st December 2013 and is divided into four distinct phases:
- Targeting and recruitment
- Single identity preparation and capacity-building
- Critical dates diversionary and relationship-building programme
- Summer (July & August) provision of cross-community activity residentials
A number of key themes and issues will be addressed through the programmes of directed youth work sessions and activity above, including the following:
- crime and anti-social behaviour.
- mental health issues including youth suicide.
- relationship-building within and between local communities.
- tolerance and respect issues amongst the young people regarding people.from the other community and their culture and traditions.
- trust and confidence issues amongst the young people regarding statutory agencies including Council, NIHE, BELB and PSNI.
This project is supported under the Belfast PEACE III Plan by the European Union’s European Regional Development Fund through the PEACE III Programme