Over 380 young people in Ards will have the opportunity to take part in the Northern Ireland Summer Splash Scheme designed to help prevent them from getting involved in anti-social activities during the summer.
Commenting on the Ards scheme Criminal Justice Minister Paul Goggins said it was “a great opportunity for young people to get involved in exciting activities this summer, have fun, learn new skills, meet new friends and also undertake activities to benefit not just themselves but others in their own communities”.
A total of seven schemes will be taking place throughout the borough with activities ranging from late night soccer to a hip hop dance academy. The schemes being funded in Ards are:
- Glen Ward Development Association — Evening Summer Scheme (youth diversion activities)
- Ards Anti-social Behaviour Team — Donaghadee summer rugby (youth diversion activities)
- The Warehouse — Youth diversion activities including a musical concert
- West Winds Residents’ Association — Late night soccer
- East End Residents’ Association — Hip hop dance academy
- Comber Youth For Christ — Late night soccer
Mr Goggins continued: “While the vast majority of young people in Northern Ireland are a credit to themselves, their families, and their communities unfortunately the long summer holidays find a small number are at risk of becoming involved in anti-social behaviour.
“The government is therefore committed to creating positive opportunities for our young people to divert them from becoming involved in anti-social behaviour. The Ards Community Safety Partnership has worked hard to put together exciting programmes for teenagers in their area over the summer months.”
Councillor David Smyth, chairman of the Ards Community Safety Partnership, said: “We are particularly pleased that the projects being supported by the Summer Splash initiative haven't been dreamt up by the Community Safety Partnership, but have come directly from local people and local organisations working on the ground in Ards.
“They are, after all, best placed to know what kinds of activity will be most effective in keeping our young people entertained over the summer months and as a result, keeping them out of trouble.
“I look forward to seeing some very positive results.”
PSNI has committed some funding to the programme. Assistant Chief Constable for Urban Region Duncan McCausland said: “We know that most young people are simply looking forward to enjoying their school holidays.
“However, the PSNI is also aware that boredom and a lack of available entertainment plays a role in the decision of some young people to engage in activities that can lead to criminal behaviour.
“We are therefore pleased to offer our financial and operational support to the Summer Splash Scheme.”
For further information, including dates and times over the summer, contact Ards Borough Council on 9182 4000.