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Programme proves to be a "Game Changer" for young people

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Young people enrolled on an innovative personal development project were honoured last night (Thursday 6th July) for turning lives around and enhancing community relations in East and South Tyrone.

Launched last year with £92,618 from the International Fund for Ireland and led by Galbally Youth and Community Association (GYCA), the 12-month Game Changer Project has supported 19 individuals aged 16-25 to explore cultural identity, personal development, good relations, skills and employment opportunities.

The successful project delivered a focused range of accredited and non-accredited training alongside good relations workshops, team building exercises and study visits. In June 2017, the International Fund for Ireland awarded GYCA £254,365 to extend the project for two years enabling more people to enrol and for additional further education and employability activities to be developed.

Allen McAdam, International Fund for Ireland Board Member said:
“The young people involved in this project deserve credit for the achievements they have made through the Game Changer project. It is opening new pathways to learning, training and employment and helping turn young lives around. This project has successfully enabled people to reassess their prospects and take active steps to improve their lives. We are very pleased to support it for another two years.

“The reality is that there are growing issues of disaffection among young people in many areas across Northern Ireland and that increases the risk of being drawn towards negative influences and a spiral of poor choices. Game Changer tackles issues like anti-social behaviour, alcohol and drugs and provides young people with practical ways to change their prospects. Projects like this are critical and build momentum for change, stability and prosperity.”

Leanne Skidmore, Game Changer Project Coordinator said:
“Game Changer addresses the issues that deeply affect the lives of young people and equips them with the knowledge, skills and competencies to build a more positive future for themselves and others. We’ve been impressed by how each participant has applied themselves within the project and within their communities. They’ve challenged and encouraged each other to keep taking brave steps forward and continually raise their aspirations.

“In the next two years we’ll be extending and expanding our work to involve more young people in East and South Tyrone. We’re looking forward to enabling more people to raise expectations for themselves and claiming a stronger role within their community.”

Galbally Youth & Community Association (GYCA) is a grassroots community organisation based six miles between Dungannon and Carrickmore. The group was established in 1993 and operates from a purpose built community centre with provision for training, arts, drama, childcare, sports and recreational activities.

Funding to GYCA was provided through the International Fund for Ireland’s Personal Youth Development Programme which is managed by the Rural Development Council.