AN International funding boost can provide the youth of Limavady with a 'stepping stone to a brighter future' according to a Roe Valley projects leader.
Roe Valley Residents Association (RVRA) has been awarded an amazing £163,438 for the 15 month ‘Building Brighter Futures’ Project.
The project will work with disengaged young people aged 16 to 25 years in the Limavady area.
It aims to improve participants’ social skills, personal development and employment opportunities through personalised development plans, one-to-one mentoring support, and training.
Beginning in 2016 with the Roe Valley Residents Association the Personal Youth Development Programme (PYDP) has helped a total of 72 young people since 2016 with 33 still currently engaging and being supported by the project.
Brenda Purcell, Community Youth Engagement Officer for PYDP, outlined the importance of the project and the impact of the funding.
Brenda told the Northern Constitution: “This project is a vital project and has had an amazing impact on young people aged 16-25 years old who were not in education, training or employment from the Limavady District – it will help provide a stepping stone for a brighter future.
“The project has continued to assist young people who suffered poor mental health or other life challenges in broadening their horizons, gaining qualifications, experiences and vital skills in the process of obtaining employment or further education goals.
“This project has also supported the young people with personal and social development as well as a good relations aspect.
“There is still a great need for this project to continue making a difference in young people’s lives within this area in the future.
“This project currently employs four members of staff and not only will the funding extension give much more support and services to these young people but will also maintain those four jobs within the organisation.”
A call to strengthen partnerships and boost community leadership comes on the back of the IFI’s latest funding allocation, which will invest £1,133,026 into nine projects across the province.
These projects work with the most polarised communities who have not felt the benefits of peace and reconciliation.
Paddy Harte, Chairman of the International Fund for Ireland says: “External challenges such as the ongoing uncertainty of Brexit, the lack of a functioning Executive and the rise of hardline dissidents have created a considerable void, which is having a very negative impact upon communities.
“Understandably, we can see that these challenges have resulted in mistrust and alienation for some.
“It comes at a critical time in the Peace Process where we want to see communities flourish instead of returning to darker times of the past.
“The Fund is the only organisation that is engaging with some of the most disengaged in society.
“We are transforming lives and going where others aren’t in order to give those communities the tools to rebuild trust and prevent the escalation of tensions and polarisation.
“Despite a clear lack of political leadership across the board, community leaders must be commended as they have risen to the challenge during these uncertain times.
“They are unsung heroes but without collaboration with other key organisations/government, they simply cannot deliver positive outcomes on the scale that is required.
“Our programmes are making important inroads to help resolve legacy issues, encourage dialogue around difficult conversations as well as tackling deprivation, employment skills, mental health issues, drugs and alcohol abuse and paramilitary activity."
“It is vital that this momentum continues so that communities can prosper, become self-sufficient and offer a better life for generations to come.”
The Chairman of the International Fund for Ireland took the opportunity to thank the international donors to the Fund - the European Union and the Governments of the United States of America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand - for their support.