A busy summer for REACH Across

Young people who enjoyed water-based activities on the REACH Across Summer Scheme.
Young people who enjoyed water-based activities on the REACH Across Summer Scheme.

Community group REACH Across recently completed the annual Summer Scheme, which included a mixture of old favourites as well as new events and activities.

Following the launch of the Summer Scheme in the new Holywell building in Bishop Street, the opening event was a cultural treasure quiz, that had members of the group trawling the city centre to find answers to the cultural and historical clues they had been set.

Day trips and outings were enjoyed by the young people.

Day trips and outings were enjoyed by the young people.

In the first week of the scheme a new craft workshop took place, facilitated by the members of MC2 Crafts, at which the young participants designed and reproduced recycled bags, there was also a football coaching session as well as a ‘rap masterclass’ with tutor Brendy Donnelly. Week one also included an activity day at Todds Leap complete with a white-knuckle ride on a 90 metre zipline, taking part in body zorbing ( the new craze of playing football while wearing a large, inflated clear plastic orb) and lots of fun on the giant swing.

The Summer Scheme provides opportunities for members to develop new skills which help increase their confidence levels. This was particularly true for the Fire Brigade training day. During the event club members were able to sample the training involved for fire brigade personnel, including hose reel use and maintenance, road traffic accident training, personal safety, and using breathing apparatus.

Other skills development workshops included a ‘Cook It’ catering session, a ‘Green Screen’ images session at the Nerve Centre and undertaking digital media training.

As well as outdoor activities and skills development, the scheme aimed to increase members’ social awareness and the Youth Awareness Café was one of the highlights of the summer scheme. Representatives from five community organisations spoke about what kind of services and support systems their organisations offered young people using a round robin table discussion format. Discussion groups included input from the Nexus Institute, Rainbow Project, Children In Crossfire, Foyle Search and Rescue who are thanked for providing invaluable and re-assuring information to the young people.

The penultimate day of the summer scheme was both recreational and educational: Members enjoyed a range of watersports at Shaws Bridge, before being taken on a tour of the peace lines and conflict landmarks in west Belfast and the day ended with a tour of the Guildhall and question and answer session with Deputy Mayor of Londonderry, Gary Middleton.

On completion of the summer scheme, REACH Across members were invited to a five-day summer activity camp at the Ballyhome Centre, Portrush. Camp included outdoor activities at the Ardclinis and Woodhall centres, an evening at Barrys amusements, a tour of Stormont, laser tag and ice skating.

REACH Across was able to deliver its summer scheme despite the absence of core funding, but want to thank the Lloyds TSB Foundation for the financial support offered.

For more information on the programmes and services provided by REACH Across, telephone 02871 280 048 or e-mail reach_across@hotmail.com