Welcome to united ‘Tullynierin!’

Courtney O'Donnell (left) of the Tullynierin Youth Forum, pictured last year with  Demi O'Donnelll and Saffron Watson.

Courtney O'Donnell (left) of the Tullynierin Youth Forum, pictured last year with Demi O'Donnelll and Saffron Watson.

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The junior chair of the new ‘Tullynierin’ Youth Forum has used its first ever newsletter to explain why the young people of one of Londonderry’s only interface areas are determined to build a united community in spite of those who thought this “would never happen.”

Courtney O’Donnell said: “As Chairperson of Tullynierin Youth Forum, I feel we have progressed very well in the last few months.

“We are very excited about the prospects of what we can achieve further into the future and the benefits that our work can bring to the Tullyally and Currynierin communities.

“In recent years our two communities have been separated by sectarian divisions as a result of the conflict, and now that people are viewing the two communities moving closer to being ‘one’ is quite a surprise for some; especially for those who thought it ‘would never happen.’

“Moving forward, we in TYF would like to see improved services for young people, both communities in general and most of all improved and sustainable relationships between the two communities as a whole.

“We at TYF are determined to play our part, in whatever way we can, to bring about a better future for all, based on partnership and working together with our neighbours towards ‘Building a United Community.’”

Over recent months the Forum has been busy creating cross-community murals, embarking on study visits to other interface areas, participating in inter-generational sessions and building better relations through sport and kayaking trips.

Chair of the adult committee, which facilitates the forum, Gary McClean, said: “Historically, in both communities there have been times when the provision of Youth Services has been at best ‘poor’ and at worst nonexistent

“When structures have collapsed in both communities young people have been the ones to suffer, with generations of lost youth having no outlet for their recreational needs and positive personal development.

“Up until recently some young people have had to grow up in this area with no youth service at all.”

The aim of the forum’s two tier management structure is to allow the young people of the youth committee to eventually graduate to the adult committee when they turn 18 and to take over full responsibility for day-to-day activities.

The name of the new forum - an amalgam of Tullyally and Currynierin - by happy accident translates as the ‘hill of the iron’ - a solid foundation.