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New North West Schools Project launched as part of International Fund for Ireland Sharing in Education Programme

Published on:  19 Oct 2011

A new schools project which will encourage cross-community contact between young people in the North West region was launched today by Adrian Johnston, Board Member of the International Fund for Ireland.

The Community Learning and Social Skills Project (C.L.A.S.S.) is a three-year project facilitated by Reach Across and funded by the International Fund for Ireland under its Sharing in Education Programme. It brings together young people aged 10 to 17 from counties Londonderry/Derry, Tyrone, Fermanagh and Donegal from both communities and from both sides of the border with the aim of encouraging contact and dialogue and promoting community relations.

Through a combination of classroom sessions, workshops and residential courses young people can take part in four key programme areas: citizenship training; prefect and leadership training; an Us and Them course which explores issues and diversity relating to symbols, emblems, parades, politics and policing; and a Primary Pathways course aimed at primary school children which brings them together to explore what they share in common as well as differences.

Speaking at the launch, Adrian Johnston, Board Member of the International Fund for Ireland, said: “The Fund is pleased to be supporting this project which is a practical demonstration of the Fund’s strategy of promoting peace and reconciliation by enhancing community relations, and promoting reconciliation and sharing.

“We are committed to supporting and facilitating projects that provide opportunities for young people from different community backgrounds to come together to discuss and compare differences and celebrate diversity. Participants on the Community Learning and Social Skills Project will enjoy a wealth of different experiences and I hope they all embrace the opportunities this project offers them.”

Christopher Burke, Chairperson of Reach Across, said: “We are delighted to work in partnership with the International Fund for Ireland. Through the Community Learning and Social Skills Project we aim to increase mutual understanding, shared learning and contact that will have a positive impact on reconciliation between young people in the North-West region.

The International Fund for Ireland’s Sharing in Education Programme (SiEP) seeks to break down barriers from Northern Ireland’s historic conflict by providing a range of opportunities for young people to learn and work together. To date over £15m has been invested in the SiEP which was launched in 2009.


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