• Peace Wall Removal

    Peace Wall Removal

    Community Celebrates Peace Wall Removal

    Residents at a North Belfast interface hold a celebration event to mark a new era after the removal of a 30 year old Peace Wall.

    More...
  • Community Consolidation

    Community Consolidation

    Community consolidation - Peace Consolidation

    A strategy for the International Fund for Ireland 2016-2020

    More...
  • Peace Impact Programme

    Peace Impact Programme

    Peace Impact Programme

    The Peace Impact Programme (PIP) is delivering real and positive community transformation. Find out more.

    More...
  • Twitter

    Twitter

    Twitter

    Follow us on Twitter for the latest news and updates on events - @fundforireland

    More...
  • Annual Report 2015

    Annual Report 2015

    Annual Report 2015

    2015 was a landmark year for the Fund. Click here to read our year in review.

    More...
  • Peace Impact Programme

    Peace Impact Programme

    PIP

    The Peace Impact programme is delivering sensitive interventions in communities that have not previously, or have only partially, participated in peace building and reconciliation activities.

    More...
  • Peace Walls Programme

    Peace Walls Programme

    Peace Walls

    The Peace Walls Programme focuses on helping interface communities to bring about the conditions that can allow for the removal of Peace Walls. Click here to read more.

    More...
  • Fund Focus

    Fund Focus

    Fund Focus

    The latest edition of our newsletter looks at commmunities taking risks for peace.

    More...

Wider Horizons Programme

on .

Wider-Horizons-ProgrammeThe Wider Horizons Programme is the Fund’s longest running programme, its origins go back as far as 1986 and approximately 8,000 young people have benefited from the programme.

Springboard Opportunities Limited is one of the current delivery agents for the Wider Horizons Programme. Springboard has been involved in the delivery of the programme since 1992. Springboard delivers the programme specifically for young unemployed people from the greater Belfast area and Dublin.

Paula Quinn, Springboard Recruitment and Marketing Manager, says the programme has three main aims – personal development and mutual understanding, building confidence, and building self esteem. Each project includes 21 young people aged 18-28 – seven from a Nationalist background, seven from a Unionist background, and seven from Dublin. Each project lasts 15-24 weeks, and in the past year 10 projects were delivered.

“We hold workshops on issues like drug and alcohol awareness, suicide and self-harming, and mutual understanding and diversity,” she adds. As well as workshops and training at home, the young people take part in overseas visits to Europe, the US, Canada, and South Africa. While overseas the young people live with host families, gain work experience, and consider gaining professional qualifications.

“Around 70% of those who take part in the projects either gain employment or go into training or further education. “Considering the background of most of these young people that is a considerable achievement. Many of them were de-motivated, came from broken homes or disadvantaged areas, where even getting up in the morning was a struggle. They felt that there were barriers in place which prevented them developing as people.

“The lack of infrastructure in the areas they came from and the lack of opportunities all mitigated against their development and it was not until they came on the programme that they realised they could achieve something or, at the very least, work towards gaining the personal qualities or qualifications which would enable them to make a positive contribution to society.”

Each project has three phases. Initially the young people take part in informal and accredited training which gives them the opportunity to learn new skills. Armed with these new skills they then go on their overseas placements where they experience different cultures and work experience. On their return more support is available to help them further develop.

According to Paula the feedback from the families of the young people has been very positive. “They see a great difference in their sons and daughters from the unsure and de-motivated people who join the programme to those who come out the other side feeling confident about their own abilities and willing to challenge themselves and build careers.”

“In their final residential they develop a prototype product which could be used to address some social need in their community. Then, in a Dragons’ Den type scenario they have to sell their business idea to a group of business people who volunteer to help us and who judge each entry.

“The pupils also take part in outdoor activities which help to build up their team working and communication skills.”

Andrea says that when the residentials send there are many tears shed as the pupils leave. Many of them keep in touch through social networking, texting and telephoning and also keep in touch with the staff who deliver the courses.

“We feel that our approach to peace building and mutual understanding, using economic tools, gives the pupils a greater realisation of what life after school will really be like. They know they will have to work with people of different personal and religious beliefs when they leave school, but they will have the confidence and skills to do so. They also realise that they can make a positive contribution to the communities where they live and can be part of a diverse and vibrant society.”

The LET Programme finishes in May 2013 and Andrea and her colleagues are currently undertaking detailed research to show how those who took part have gained valuable experiences compared to those in a control group who did not take part on the programme.