Portadown

Portadown Youth Project Builds Foundations for Long-term Success

Published on:  05 Dec 2017

A local project that works across six communities in Portadown has being praised for turning young lives around as it received a major two-year funding boost.

Edgarstown Residents Association’s ‘Changing the Landscape’ project supported by the International Fund for Ireland, has helped 24 young people in the last year explore cultural identity, personal development, good relations, skills and employment opportunities.

The project operates against a challenging backdrop in areas where young people face a number of difficult challenges including gang culture, drugs, criminality and mental health issues.

Over the last 12 months three participants have acquired entry into a degree course at Ulster University, one is now a support worker for the project and 12 have gained employment. The project received confirmation that the Fund would invest a further £185,799 in the project over the next two years to continue much needed outreach and support in the Portadown area.

Commenting on the celebration event at Seagoe Hotel in Portadown, IFI Board Member Paddy Harte said; “This project is part of the Fund’s Personal Youth Development Programme (PYDP) and plays a huge role in giving young people the means to change the direction of their lives and make a better contribution to their communities. Projects like ‘Changing the Landscape’ allow us to see transformation in people’s lives first-hand and everyone deserves credit for their achievements in the last year. Thanks to the impact that the project is having in Portadown, we are delighted to support its work for another two years.

“The stark reality is that there are growing issues of disillusionment among young people across Northern Ireland and that increases the risk of being drawn towards negative influences and a spiral of poor choices. Projects like this are critical and build momentum for change, stability and prosperity.”

Nigel Duke, Project Co-ordinator adds; “There have been tremendous highs and lows over the last 12 months, which only demonstrates further that there is a real need for our work to continue. We are addressing issues that deeply affect young people on a daily basis and are giving them the tools to build their confidence and skill sets to build a more positive future. We’ve been impressed by the dedication of each and every participant as they have taken the brave steps towards success.

“In the next phase of our project we plan to offer further training activities for existing participants and also hope to enrol a further 13 participants for the programme. We look forward to growing the project and opportunities for those involved for the local community. This latest funding is a major boost and gives us an opportunity to build upon the tremendous foundations that have been put in place over the last year.”

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