Youth Services

The Youth Project has a target range of young people of 5-25 years with a focus target of 11-19 years.

We have enjoyed another successful year which began through working in partnership with probation, social services and community groups. We have been tackling issues that create barriers to participation for young people at risk. We worked on issues which the young people face in their day to day lives, exploring what provision is available for young people and then developing a programme to meet the needs of the young people. We have continued to develop and explore new and innovative ways of reaching the needs of young people. We reinforce all of our learning opportunities with a range of accreditations.

Another successful youth project

Another successful youth project

Our Youth Programmes which we identified, designed and delivered have provided the young people of the Upper Andersonstown area with the following opportunities:

  • Empowerment of young people to enable them to take part in decision making
  • Increased participation and inclusion addressing their needs
  • Increased achievement through training and experience
  • Personal, social, educational and spiritual development
  • Increased opportunities in Outdoor education and activities
  • Empowerment of young people to enable them to take part in development of activities
  • Improved Health and wellbeing for young people
  • Increase in confidence and self esteem programmes
  • Increased development in environmental programmes and activities
  • Participation in programmes and activities not usually available to them in the course of their daily lives.

Accredited programmes

Suicide Awareness, Single Identity, Personal Development, Drug, Alcohol programmes, Cross Community, Music Events, Environmental, Neighbourhood Clean Ups, Art Project, Football Coaching, Fitness Programme, Establishment of Youth Network, Working in partnership with Youth Forum, Terry Enright Foundation Challenge, Young Men’s Programme, Young Women’s Programme, Accredited Training through Youth Work level 2&3, Peer Education Level 2&3, Trainee Leadership, Accert Drug Awareness Level 2,3&4, Trainers for Trainers programme, OCN Play work, Student Support Classes, Canvas Art Project, Dance & Drama, Summer Scheme, sports programmes, school programmes, youth forum, personal support, signposting, residential and Out Door Education, Accreditations including OCN, Sport leadership and  Trips, Outdoor Activities, training, as well as outreach and support for existing provision within the area.

These programmes have enabled us to develop and expand the project working very closely with the youth project identifying young people outside of the existing provision.  This allows for a holistic approach which best utilizes resources for the benefits the young people in the area in a more effective and proactive manner.  The project has enabled the young people to gain experience through peer lead volunteer programmes.  They have gained in confidence in the implementation and delivery of programmes through dance, drama, sport etc.  The young people also gain qualifications through accredited training.  An overall total of 2,539 participants have engaged in accredited and non-accredited services in the past year.

Due to high demand of young people with in the area we have established a Summer Programme.  This programme has been designed to meet the needs of the young people with in the area providing them with opportunities not usually available to them, preventing them from taking part in negative behaviour over the summer period.  These programmes were developed from input and opinions expressed from young people.  We have designed an internal and external programme to ensure that all young people are catered for.  We have established a data base of 250 young people.  These young people were targeted through the youth project, Social Services and probation service.

We are currently developing new programmes for September which have been generously funded by the Big Lottery Reaching Out to Young People Fund.

The Programmes are designed through consultation with young people, parents, local residents and local shop keepers.  Targets were identified that focus on the social, physical, emotional, spiritual or intellectual development of the young people.  This process will continue throughout the programme. In particular this year we witnessed more work with ‘hotspot’ and problem areas in West Belfast. We engaged young people at risk, and those in the criminal justice system, in positive activities and learning opportunities.

Currently we have over 200 beneficiaries availing of our programme; many of these young people have also availed of three or more programmes throughout this year. Programmes are developed to explore issues which they faced, participating in group work sessions and developing new relationships.

We continued to develop programmes with young people to address the issue of social inclusion.  An example of this is the participation of young people in a community relations programme which looked at issues of Equity, Diversity and Interdependence. Services take a holistic and inclusive approach which seeks to provide a service for all young people and targeting those that are most vulnerable and marginalised within the Andersonstown area.   This is encouraged and promoted through working with those young who are most at risk and disengaged from service providers and providing alternative education opportunities.  The programme is also linking into the Neighbourhood Renewal Partnership supporting the delivery of the neighbourhood plan.

Young people have been identified through probation and social services and police who were at risk of anti-social behaviour and crime. We set up a series of workshops to address diversionary activities and now engage these young men on weekend evenings to participate in mini soccer leagues.

Young people who have been identified in hotspot areas have also taken part in an Art Mural and Art Canvas project reflecting the positive and negative aspects of being a young person and the challenges they face, we ensured that we provided these young people opportunities to express their feeling about being a young member of the Andersonstown community. The mural will be displayed in the local area.

A wide variety of organisations across west Belfast referred a group of young people who had a variety of barriers to participating. These included young people in care, excluded from school and others with low self-esteem. We engaged these young people onto a Sports Leadership Level 2 accredited programme. The qualification enabled the group of seven to develop sport leadership skills and facilitate sport coaching for children aged 5-12 across West Belfast.

12 young people at risk were identified and took part in individual and group work.  The outcome of this programme was that they took part in personal development and life skills training to build on their confidence.  We gained accreditation for the centre. This enabled the centre to deliver the Level 2 qualification for a group of young Sport Leaders, the qualification is a G.C.S.E equivalent and targets young people aged 16-20 at risk of underachievement. The course has enabled them to lead a wide range of sporting activities, events and training for younger children aged 5-12.

Over the past year we have progressed senior members of the youth provision from participants to volunteers. They have engaged onto training programmes focusing on roles and responsibilities and child protection. Young volunteers clearly provide an ethos of positive role models for senior participants and have been making a positive contribution to their communities in 2010/11.

Over the years we have facilitated a range of youth exchanges. The latest of these focused on the history of both Liverpool and Belfast – project work centred on youth issues and differences in living in Belfast and Liverpool. The exchange set up a fantastic working relationship with Liverpool Youth Service and provided our young people with an experience to learn about another city, meeting new young people and attend a football coaching course with Everton Football Club. The experience has had a massive impact on the lives of the more than 20 young people who participated and is something that we hope to build on.

Over the coming years we aim to continue the work of meeting the needs of young people in the Andersonstown area by offering unique opportunities for learning and to enhance their personal and social development.