A unique youth project that works with young people across Derry/ Londonderry has used the power of creativity and music to inspire positive steps towards a brighter future in the city.
The ‘Lifehack’ project, part of Creggan Enterprises Ltd is supported through the International Fund for Ireland’s Personal Youth Development Programme (PYDP).
Over the last year, the project has worked hard to change perceptions of marginalised young people and encouraged them to make improved life choices through a mix of accredited and non-accredited training alongside good relations workshops, team building exercises, creative technology projects and activities that focus on improving confidence, self-esteem and employability.
Thanks to some top music industry tips from talented songwriter Paddy Nash, the project has ended year one on a high by writing, recording and producing a powerful music single and video entitled ‘Not Alone’.
Paddy Harte, IFI Board member attended the celebration event; “Everybody involved in ‘Lifehack’ deserves credit for what they have accomplished over the last year. It takes courage and commitment to step out of your comfort zone and embrace positivity and change. The Fund offers opportunities to those whom society has left behind and offers new pathways to learning, training and employment that can help turn young lives around. Projects like this are essential to divert young people away from negative influences and towards empowerment and a better future.”
The PYDP Programme targets young people aged 16-25, many of whom are vulnerable and face problems such as economic and social exclusion. These young people may also have faced a range of complex issues, including: substance use, homelessness, challenging lifestyles, involvement with the justice system, and may suffer from low-self esteem and mental health issues.
Despite the significant challenges facing these young people Lifehack has recognised the individual talent within the group and believe that each participant has the potential to achieve personal success and contribute positively to society with the right support structures in place.
Richie McRory, Lifehack Project Coordinator talks about the role creativity and music has played:
“Over the last year we provided a wide range of opportunities, activities and courses for participants. ‘Not Alone’ is a very powerful and creative piece of good relations and development work within the PYDP programme.
“Participants worked closely with local musician Paddy Nash and Diane Greer to explore their own identity over a four month period. They engaged in structured music writing sessions, basic guitar lessons and learned the fundamentals of song composition.
“The song ‘Not Alone’ is about a life journey, exploring really emotive issues and looking forward. It touches on issues such as mental health, homelessness, isolation, feeling trapped and hopeless. It moves from darkness to a place of hope and prosperity for the future. And,crucially it highlights to young people that they are ‘not alone’ and that there is support out there for them. I’m proud of every participant who has come on this journey - they have new-found confidence, and a renewed passion and purpose for life.”
Throughout the last year, the IFI has invested over £3.3m into 30 PYDP projects. Over 300 young people have participated with 178 completing accredited traning, 134 completing good relations training and some have gone on to further education and securing full time employment.
One participant Seamus Callaghan said: “Making the music video was a very positive experience, it gave us an opportunity to really bond as a group. We wrote the lyrics, designed the artwork and sleeve and participated in the video production and editing. It helped us share our feelings, build confidence and produce something special to us. I am very grateful to have taken part and worked with so many great people.”
Creggan Enterprises is a social enterprise, established in 1991, which seeks to address the causes of social and economic disadvantage and exclusion by developing and promoting positive opportunities and solutions to the local community. Over the last 27 years, they have supported the immediate area through the generation of 60 enterprise projects and the creation of 300 jobs. The ‘Lifehack’ project was awarded £100,049 in February 2017 through the Fund’s PYDP programme.
Watch the music video here
For further information about our funding programmes, or for information on how to apply for funding, please contact the person(s) or organisation(s) identifed at the end of the relevant programme summary in the areas of activity section.
International Fund for Ireland
28-32 Alfred St.
+44 (0)28 9031 2884