Fermanagh Sports & Cultural Awareness Association (FSCAA) project officer John Quinn and outreach worker Darrell Law say the Personal Youth Development Programme (PYPD) is giving 16-25 year olds in rural communities a sense of belonging and self-worth.
Challenges around alcohol and drug issues, learning difficulties, mental health concerns and involvement in crime remain but the FSCAA team is committed to “supporting the young people in whatever way we can,” John says.
He loves the community aspect of his role, whether it’s with older people, young people, sport, art or IT projects, he can see progress in all areas.
“I very much enjoy working with young people and trying to help them and point them in the right direction. Many of the young people have difficult family backgrounds so they look to us as adults offering a bit of support and stability.”
Darrell too says the reward of his work is engaging the young people directly, “They want to know when they are next in,” he adds.
“That is success to me and John.”
Fourteen of last year’s group have achieved accredited training, they made several industry visits, engaged with entrepreneurs and saw for themselves examples of business people making a success in life through alternative routes to academia.
Personal and social development, gaining knowledge around cultural awareness, race and ethnicity, and peace and reconciliation, is helping improve self-worth while broadening understanding of others.
John and Darrell emphasise the importance of the spectrum of activities that allow the young people to fulfil their potential and how this holistic approach sees confidence levels soar, and in turn skill levels improve.
Talking to peers and building the confidence to interact with others is all part of tackling rural and social isolation among participants including the single parents in the group who have had limited opportunities to spend time with other teens or adults.
John is keen to build on the progress and reach out in ways that suit individuals.
“We are very happy with the IFI funding and the outcomes it is achieving. Some young people are making very small steps but we are successful with them all. We are making a difference to lives and really helping.”
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International Fund for Ireland
28-32 Alfred St.
+44 (0)28 9031 2884