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Project to help disadvantaged

A project which aims to improve the lives and job opportunities of young people at risk in Newry and Mourne has been awarded a major grant from the Big Lottery Fund. Newry and Mourne Co-operative and Enterprise Agency Ltd has been awarded a grant of £498,650 from the fund’s Reaching Out Empowering Young People programme, which supports young people most at risk in the north including those who have been disengaged from education, involved in crime or in care. The organisation will use the grant too run a series of training and support services for vulnerable and isolated young people aged 14-18 in disadvantaged areas who are not involved in education or training and are at risk of turning to anti-social behaviour or criminal activity. Project Manager Pauline Coghlan said: “We will be providing a range of support including team building skills, numeracy and literacy courses, practical job skills such as interview techniques and how to communicate, mentoring sessions to build self-esteem, work placements and volunteering opportunities. The programme is designed to help the young person improve their confidence, developed a range of life and basic skills, perspectives and experiences that will help them understand that they have the potential to go out there, return to education or find a job and change their lives.” Ms Coglan says the organisation hopes to change the prospects of young people adding: “Without this programme they are at risk of facing a life time on benefits without any hope for improvement.” David Thompson who took part in the organisation’s pilot scheme three years ago said: “I have training in first aid and child protection and have just finished my OCN Level 2 in youth work. I hope to do Level 3 and go to university to finish the rest of the course.” The 20-year-old  added: “I would not have had these opportunities if I had to do it myself. They really showed me I could achieve what ever I set my mind to.”


Newry Democrat

28th August 2012