Eamonn Holmes 'incredibly impressed' with Belfast youth projects
Broadcasting star Eamonn Holmes returned to his native north Belfast yesterday to visit two established youth projects that have and will continue to benefit from funding from BBC Children in Need.
Eamonn visited both the Artillery Youth Centre and New Lodge Arts, who have benefited from £82,000 and £96,000 Children in Need Funding respectively over the last three years.
The TV star was determined to point out that his visit to the projects reminded him just how worthwhile Children in Need is.
"I have discovered that these projects are encouraging young people to have aspirations - for kids to have dreams," he said.
"A lot of people may have the impression that youth clubs are about discos, table tennis or playing pool and to an extent that's right and there is nothing wrong with that. But, youth workers here are talking to young people about what it is they would like to achieve and showing them how to achieve it.
"I have been incredibly impressed by what I have seen at these projects. These are people shaping how young people spend their time well as opposed to hanging about street corners or getting into gaming or whatever else may be out there. It's very positive because young people often get a bad press and it's not deserved in the case of the vast majority of them."
Holmes has regularly spoken of growing up in Belfast in the dark days of the Troubles but told the Belfast Telegraph there is a world of difference between his youth and now, and that is why it is vital that the annual fundraising event continues.
"I lived here from 1959-1968 and so there were no youth clubs and more than that I would have been too young to go to them. But, there was a lot of unrest at the time, but what I see now is the same sense of community and what I also see is that so much has changed, but a lot hasn't changed either.
"That's why people need to understand the breadth of the good things that the funding from Children in Need provides."
November 17 will see the 37th airing of the telethon event at which Northern Ireland regularly tops the money giving charts within the UK regions.
...and star has a pop at Anton
Eamonn Holmes has given a tongue in cheek retort to Strictly Come Dancing Star Anton du Beke for openly stating that his wife Ruth Langsford was 'now his'.
"One man's Strictly curse is another man's Strictly blessing," he laughed.
"Listen, Ruth needs Anton, she likes Anton and they will be a wonderful combination. I just hope they enjoy it, but not too much if you understand me!"