Junior Ministers Jennifer McCann and Jonathan Bell today launched two projects developed jointly by Hammer Youth Club in the Shankill and Ardoyne Youth Club.
The R City project aims to instil leadership qualities, helping young people from the Shankill and Ardoyne areas on their pathway to learning and employment. The project will promote the positive stories and events young people are participating in across north Belfast.
The Belfast to Blanco project will involve 20 young people travelling to Blanco, South Africa, to help rebuild a local township and gain valuable experience in various cultural backgrounds.
Speaking at the launch in Crumlin Road Gaol where young people from both projects showcased the work they have been involved in and the impact on their lives, Junior Minister, Jennifer McCann said: “Through working together, whether at a community level in Ardoyne and the Shankill or internationally with South Africa, these young people will have the opportunity to take on roles that will increase their understanding of the world we live in, develop relationships with people from different backgrounds and learn to work in a team.
“These two projects sit comfortably with our good relations strategy Together: Building a United Community. Our young people are our future and these programmes will help the young people involved celebrate not only our cultural differences but also the many common bonds we all share. I congratulate all the young people involved and wish them every success in these projects and their future careers.”
Junior Minister Jonathan Bell added: “The youth groups involved in both of these projects have to be commended for integrating young people in a programme that will allow them to take on challenging roles, increase leadership skills and lead to future employment opportunities.
“The Executive believes that the process of breaking down barriers has to begin at the earliest possible age. We want children and young people in Northern Ireland to grow up in a society free of prejudice and hate; a society that values the individual for who they are, not where they come from or their perceived religious belief. Hammer and Ardoyne youth clubs are due our thanks for their determination to break down those barriers and helping create a better and brighter future for those young people they help.”