Belfast Telegraph

McCausland encourages youth sector to take a closer look at European funding

Stormont Executive press release - Department for Social Development

Minister McCausland is encouraging voluntary and community organisations working with young people to take advantage of European funding opportunities.

An information session is being jointly held today by the Youth Council for Northern Ireland (YCNI) and the Department for Social Development. The event aims to encourage voluntary and community organisations working with young people in the most disadvantaged areas in Northern Ireland, to apply for funding from the EU Youth in Action (YiA) programme.

Speaking ahead of the event with local youth organisations, Minister Nelson McCausland said: “Youth organisations in Northern Ireland could be missing out on European funding opportunities. There is potential to draw down a maximum grant of up to €50,000 for some projects and in some instances a 100% grant of up to €10,000 is available for youth led activities projects. I hope today will help organisations move a step closer to maximising the resources and experiences available to them through Europe.

“In May 2007, the then EU President Jose Manuel Barroso announced the creation of the European Commission Taskforce for Northern Ireland to examine how Northern Ireland could benefit more from EU policies and programmes to increase prosperity. Today’s event has been arranged as part of the Executive’s plans to realise these aims.”

The Minister continued: “The event offers an important opportunity for local voluntary and community organisations working with young people to identify other funding and support streams to assist them in enhancing and delivering services to young people in their areas. These organisations sometimes do not have the resources or time to study additional funding options. Today will provide them with information on funding opportunities and the help that both the Youth Council and DSD can provide in making applications. I wish to thank Youth Council colleagues for their efforts in jointly hosting today’s event.

“I look forward to hearing feedback from my officials on the outcome of the session and to working closely with the Youth Council and local youth organisations in future to ensure Northern Ireland avails of European funding opportunities for our young people.”

The information session will be hosted by Jenny Pyper, Deputy Secretary in the Department for Social Development and David Guilfoyle, Chief Executive of the Youth Council.

Speaking about the event David Guilfoyle said: “The Youth Council for Northern Ireland is an ardent promoter and co-ordinator of international and north/south youth work programmes, particularly those which serve to target marginalised and difficult to reach young people. Regional participation in non-formal education programmes, such as the EU Youth in Action and Causeway British-Irish Exchange Programmes, has consistently outstripped other parts of the UK, despite on-going transition within the sector, bringing in excess of £5million to youth organisations in recent years.

“Participants (organisations, youth workers and young people) have benefited from opportunities to explore locally, or share with their peers from other countries, youth work practice and concepts such as participation, active citizenship, cultural diversity and inclusion.

“I am delighted that the Youth Council has this opportunity to work with DSD in assisting more voluntary and community organisations to access European funding streams, which support their work with young people.”

Further information on the EU Youth in Action Programme can be accessed online via the UK National Agency’s website: http://www.britishcouncil.org/youthinaction.htm, or by contacting the Youth Council for Northern Ireland, the National Agency’s Regional Information Point for the YiA Programme at: http://www.ycni.org Tel 028 9064 3882

Notes to editors:

1. The Taskforce is assisted in this task by four thematic groups which reflect the European priorities, namely:

· Competitiveness and employment
· Innovation and Technology
· Climate change and energy
· Social Cohesion

DSD’s remit under the taskforce is in relation to: Social Cohesion, Climate Change and Energy thematic groups, although the Department is represented on the Competitiveness and Employment Group.

2. The Youth Council for Northern Ireland is an ardent promoter and coordinator of International and north/south programmes and is the Regional information provider for the Youth in Action Programme in Northern Ireland, on behalf of the UK National Agency. The UK National Agency for the Youth in Action programme is the British Council (London). The Youth Council is also the UK managing body for the Causeway British-Irish Exchange Programme.

3. The Youth in Action Programme is funded by the European Union and offers a range of opportunities for young people aged between 13-30, and those working in the youth sector. Projects funded through the programme aim to give young people the opportunity to experience new cultures, gain and enhance skills and make new friendships by working on fulfilling and enjoyable projects with a European/International dimension. Engagement in Youth in Action encourages the inclusion of all young people, regardless of their educational, social and cultural background.
 

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