High five as Londonderry makes European shortlist

The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council pictured at a previous European Youth Capital 19 event in the Guildhall with representatives from various primary and secondary schools throughout the north west. Included are Oonagh McGillion, Director of Legacy and Emma McLaughlin, EYC Officer, Derry City and Strabane District Council.
The Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council pictured at a previous European Youth Capital 19 event in the Guildhall with representatives from various primary and secondary schools throughout the north west. Included are Oonagh McGillion, Director of Legacy and Emma McLaughlin, EYC Officer, Derry City and Strabane District Council.

Derry City and Strabane District has taken a major step forward in its bid to become European Youth Capital (EYC) 2019 after being shortlisted from 13 applicant cities to one of five finalists in the running for the prestigious title.

Congratulating the Council’s EYC19 team and young people from Derry-Strabane for all their hard work and commitment in reaching this important milestone in the selection process, Mayor Councillor Elisha McCallion said they would now be focusing their efforts on the next round of the competition.

“We are absolutely delighted to have been selected by the high-level, independent jury tasked with assessing all 13 applications before announcing the five shortlisted candidates who will progress to round two.

“I am extremely proud of Derry City and Strabane District Council in reaching the next stage of the selection process, especially as it is the only applicant from Northern Ireland bidding for the title.”

Encouraging everyone to get behind the EYC19 campaign, as they did for UK City of Culture 2013, Cllr. McCallion said winning the title would be huge for the city and district and most importantly, have a positive impact on its young people.

“The City of Culture year put the city on the international map and provided young people from all social and community backgrounds with opportunities to celebrate the city’s culture, and to be proud and ambitious about their hopes for the future.

“We hope that the city and district’s bid to become European Youth Capital for 2019 will present our young people with another massive opportunity. My vision is that we will continue with the great work we are doing to raise the profile of our Council area and more importantly, to put young people at the heart of the decision making process.”

Oonagh McGillion, Director of Legacy with Derry City and Strabane District Council and lead officer for the European Youth Capital bid, also extended her thanks to all who have pledged their support so far.

She said: “In recent months since launching the campaign we have been overwhelmed by the positive response to the bid from our young people and our youth and community organisations. We have such a young and vibrant population so it makes sense that they have a strong voice in our corporate and community strategies.”

Encouraging all young people to get involved in the bid, the Mayor added: “In May we will be hosting a youth workshop for young people who will be asked to assist Council and partners to design youth intervention actions across the previously defined needs. These actions will then be incorporated into the final bid and also the draft Community Plan. By engaging with the bid process groups can ensure they have their say and contribute to an improved plan benefitting young people across the district.”

Orla Anderson, (20), one of the EYC19 Champions, said she was very excited at today’s announcement and hoped Derry would go on to win the title.

Orla, who has been a volunteer with the Off The Streets Initiative in Galliagh for the past 18 months, said: “European Youth Capital would give young people more opportunities and things to look forward to in the city.

“We would like to see more concerts and for young people to be more involved in getting their tickets. There should be something for young people who cannot attend events because of age restrictions.”

The European Youth Capital bid involves young people aged 15-24 living or working in the Council area. Since the bid launch Council has been engaging with a wide range of groups and organisations to gauge the views and aspirations of young people with a view to incorporating these into a special year-long youth programme for the area should the bid be successful.

After a final jury meeting, the winner of the EYC2019 title will be announced at the European Youth Forum’s General Assembly in Varna, Bulgaria (EYC2017) in November 2016.

For more information on the process and how you can get involved go to www.eyc19.com