Galbally Youth & Community Association

Galbally Youth & Community Association is a grassroots organisation based in County Tyrone. Established in 1993, they operate from a purpose built community centre with provision for training, arts, drama, childcare, sports and recreational activities.
In 2016, the group secured a stream of over £92,000 funding through the Fund’s Personal Youth Development Programme for a project called ‘Game Changer’. Its focus is to engage with young people between 16 and 25 years old, particularly in rural areas of South and East Tyrone, who face a number of disadvantages and provide them with a structured programme of support.
Building confidence and motivation with young people involved is instrumental to the delivery of ‘Game Changer’. The project delivers three key elements; Personal Development; Good Relations and Skills Development.
Leanne Skidmore, Game Changer Project Coordinator says: “Game Changer addresses the issues that deeply affect the lives of young people and equips them with the knowledge, skills and competencies to build a more positive future for themselves and others. We’ve been impressed by how each participant has applied themselves within the project and within their communities. They’ve challenged and encouraged each other to keep taking brave steps forward and continually raise their aspirations. “
Participants who have turned their lives around and enhanced community relations through the Game Changer project.
To date 19 participants have been involved with the project two days per week. All were out of education, employment and training; and faced a multitude of issues including: homelessness, self-harm, depression and anxiety, poor mental health issues, drug addiction and substance abuse. Some have also been involved in the criminal justice system, low levels of confidence and self-esteem, some are single mothers and others have poor relationships with family members -none were involved in any activities within their local communities. 

Leanne continues; “Personal challenges initially made it difficult for people to become involved and many were very isolated not coming out of their houses. The programme really has become a lifeline for a number of students. One participant has gained full time employment from the project and another has become a volunteer youth leader at Galbally Youth Club.”

The successful project has delivered a focused range of accredited and non-accredited training alongside good relations workshops, team building exercises and study visits.  In June 2017, the International Fund for Ireland awarded a further £254,365 to extend the project for two years enabling more people to enrol and for additional further education and employability activities to be developed. 
Participants with IFI-Board Member Allen McAdam and project coordinator Leanne Skidmore.
Musicians entertain at a recent celebration event for the Galbally group.
Allen McAdam, an IFI Board Member who attended a recent celebration event with ‘Game Changer’ participants said; “The young people involved in this project deserve credit for the achievements they have made through the Game Changer project. It is opening new pathways to learning, training and employment and helping turn young lives around. This project has successfully enabled people to reassess their prospects and take active steps to improve their lives. We are very pleased to support it for another two years.

“The reality is that there are growing issues of disaffection among young people in many areas across Northern Ireland and that increases the risk of being drawn towards negative influences and a spiral of poor choices. Game Changer tackles issues like anti-social behaviour, alcohol and drugs and provides young people with practical ways to change their prospects. Projects like this are critical and build momentum for change, stability and prosperity.”

Leanne and her team are committed to continuing to provide opportunities in the area; “In the next two years we’ll be extending and expanding our work to involve more young people in East and South Tyrone. We’re looking forward to enabling more people to raise expectations for themselves and claiming a stronger role within their community.

“The fact that people are coming out of their homes and seeing this as an extra support facility, is a positive outcome for us.”

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For further information about our funding programmes, or for information on how to apply for funding, please contact the person(s) or organisation(s) identifed at the end of the relevant programme summary in the areas of activity section.

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