Youth Projects boosted with IFI funds windfall

Lettershandoney and District Development Group
Lettershandoney and District Development Group

Two Londonderry projects have received a total of £179, 405 in the latest round of NI funding allocations by The International Fund for Ireland (IFI).

The IFI has unveiled a total of £2,337,765 funding to provide further intervention and support for marginalised communities.

A total of 23 community based initiatives across Northern Ireland and the southern border counties have been successful in the latest round of allocations including the Lettershandoney and District Development Group and St Columb’s Park House.

A significant proportion of funding focuses on the Fund’s Personal Youth Development Programme (PYDP). Launched in 2015, the programme works with 16-25 year olds who have faced a range of complex issues including; poor mental health, substance abuse, homelessness, difficult family backgrounds and been in or close to the criminal justice system.

Lettershandoney and District Development Group will use £97,691 to continue to deliver ‘Tús Nua’, providing young people aged 16-25 with employability support, good relations, personal development and skills development.

St Columb’s Park House has been awarded £81,714 for the ‘IgnYte’ project, which aims to deliver an integrated training programme using sport, global citizenship, good relations and practical skills training to support marginalised young people achieve, flourish and reconnect with their community.

IFI Chairman, Paddy Harte says: “The IFI’s work is more relevant than ever. The continued lack of political leadership alongside an increase in hard line opinions on Brexit and dissident activity means that many communities feel more isolated and entrenched with little support on the ground to deliver positive outcomes.

“The IFI is delivering interventions and prepared to go where other agencies cannot to offer better pathways for engagement and growth. Our PYDP programme in particular is like no other youth initiative. It is tailored to the individual, develops much needed life skills, instils confidence and prepares young people for positive life choices and employment.”

The IFI’s Personal Youth Development Programme has engaged with over 1800 young people with 3278 accreditations received, 528 progressing into education and training with 390 securing employment.

Mr Harte said: “Young people today face more challenges than ever and they often feel that society has let them down.

“Growing tensions within communities alongside high levels of social and economic deprivation all work hand in hand to spur on those opposed to the Peace Process who continue to try and radicalise young people through paramilitary recruitment. We will continue to engage with those who have benefited little from the Good Friday Agreement and help young people to transform and become positive role models within their local communities.”

The Chairman thanked the international donors to the Fund - European Union and the Governments of the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand - for their support.