The new premises which are based in Farset Enterprise Park, Springfield Road, West Belfast, house training facilities, meeting rooms, a resource area and staff/trainer accommodation. The facilities will enable the organisation to extend the reach of training provision to a greater number of people and therefore make an impact in areas of need which lack social infrastructure.
The International Fund for Ireland contributed £975,000 to the project. Financial support was also provided by the Department for Social Development; the Department of Education; Youth Link Member Churches; Ulster Garden Villages; the Garfield Weston Foundation; the Clothworker’s Foundation; and the Beatrice Laing Trust.
Youth Link was established by the Catholic Church, Church of Ireland, Methodist, and Presbyterian Churches in 1992. Its role is to provide youth work, community relations and leadership training to those involved in youth work throughout Northern Ireland and the southern border counties. Youth Link also delivers projects directly to young people and is the largest deliverer of accredited youth work training in Northern Ireland.
David Graham OBE, Board Member for the International Fund for Ireland, said at the launch: “The new training facilities here at Youth Link are fantastic and tailored specifically to support all areas of Youth Link’s work. The Centre provides a shared space where joint leadership training and empowerment programmes with community based youth groups gives young people from different traditions and cultural backgrounds an opportunity to come together and learn from one another.
“The Fund is very keen to support projects which have the potential to deliver sustainable, long-term, positive impacts long after the Fund ceases to exist. I am pleased to note the positive work delivered through Youth Link, and the many people who have benefited directly from their programmes who have then passed on their learning to thousands of young people in a wide variety of settings. Leadership training at youth and adult level is an important element in the strengthening of community relations and social cohesion.”
Social Development Minister Alex Attwood said: "The service provided by Youth Link complements the department’s aim to help children and young people in need. The ethos of the Modernisation Fund is about providing assistance to organisations throughout Northern Ireland, enabling them to deliver better services to their local communities. I commend Youth Link for their important work."
Speaking at the event, Education Minister Caitríona Ruane said: “Youth Link is an innovative and highly respected organisation that has been delivering real benefits for young people for almost 20 years. This new centre will boost Youth Link’s capability even further, giving young people from all communities access to a wide range of training and development opportunities and helping them reach their full potential.
“It is vital that our young people have this kind of personal development opportunity available to them. This is why my Department has invested £16.8 million in youth capital projects such as this in the last three years.”
“I would like to pay tribute to everyone connected with Youth Link and thank the primary co-funders, the International Fund for Ireland and the Department for Social Development.”
Barbara McDade, Chairperson of Youth Link said: “We are really delighted to be officially opening our new training and resource centre. The location on the interface area on the Springfield Road in West Belfast will enable new challenges to be met through community regeneration and the building of more integrated society.”
“The new facilities provide much needed space which will allow Youth Link to further develop its excellent range of training programmes for both youth workers and young people within our churches and throughout our wider society. We believe every young person needs to be supported in reaching their full potential. Youth Link is committed to playing its part in the development of young people in our society who can take an effective role in bringing about more stable, peaceful and inclusive communities which are respectful of difference.”
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.
International Fund for Ireland
28-32 Alfred St.
+44 (0)28 9031 2884