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Journeys lead to better understanding

Hundreds of young people from disadvantaged communities in Belfast, Limavady and the border regions of Cavan and Monaghan have embarked on a shared voyage of self-discovery and understanding.

Young people participating in the project

They are participating in the ‘Journeys’ programme, which has received funding from the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). Journeys is a cross-border collaborative project between Springboard Opportunities Ltd, Belfast, Roe Valley Residents’ Association, Limavady and Cavan and Monaghan Education and Training Board.

Its aim is to empower young people aged 14-24 to work together on projects based on good relations, personal development and citizenship so that they can form positive, effective relationships with those of a different background and make a positive contribution to building a better society.

“By participating in this project children and young people who have experienced social exclusion or marginalisation will be able to build up their self-esteem, resilience and understanding of people from a different background and culture,” said Gina McIntyre, CEO of the SEUPB.

“It will make a real difference in their lives and encourage them to share what they have learned with their own families and the communities in which they live, on both sides of the border.

“In doing so they will become the architects of change for a more forward thinking and inclusive society.”

Over 200 young people completed the programme’s Phase 1 projects, which included a short film on mental health, and many have progressed into employment, volunteering, further training or university.

More than 220 participants began Phase 2 of Journeys in early 2019 and those who completed the first phase have formed a Youth Advisory Group that is now making decisions and sharing ideas to help shape the future of the project.

One young person participating on the programme said Journeys has provided opportunities that surprised him.

“The programme has created new experiences for me, which I didn’t think I’d like,” he said. “Journeys has opened up new ideas for me, which I will hopefully continue to explore.”

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