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New ‘Change Something Fund’ judging panel

THREE local young people will feature on a new judging panel to take decisions on the funding of youth projects across the North West.
 
Oisín-Tomás Ó Raghallaigh and Aoibhin Stewart from Strabane and Carolyn McDowell from Newtownstewart, will join 11 others to make up the ‘Change Something’ judging panel.
 
The project which is delivered by Community Foundation NI through the Acorn Fund, is just one of a series of opportunities for young people to bring their hopes and aspirations to life during ‘Youth 19’.
 
Speaking to the Chronicle 18-year old Oisín-Tomás Ó Raghallaigh a former pupil of Holy Cross College and local youth worker says he is looking forward to being involved with the project.
 
“This is an excellent incentive,” said Oisín.  “This project is entirely focused on working with and for young people. From the outset young people will be directly involved.”
 
Anyone from the age of 13-24-years-old can apply for a grant, which range from £300-£5,000 and Oisín is encouraging as many young people as possible to get involved.
 
“This is a really good idea because a 15-year-old person knows more about issues affecting them and other 15-year-olds than an adult can,’ he explained. 
 
“Any young person who wants to make a difference in their community can and that is the whole objective of the project-to change something.”
 
 Applications will be reviewed by a panel of young people and Oisín emphasised that all grants allocated will be decided for young people, by young people.
 
“Young people know the issues they face and their voices matter,” added Oisín.  “This could be anything from an anti-bullying campaign to raising awareness for mental health. Basically this money can towards anything that young people feel would make a change to their communities.”
 
Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr John Boyle congratulated those on the newly appointed panel.
 
“This is a very worthwhile project which is allowing young people to take a lead role in bringing positive change to their community,” he explained. 
 
 * Full training will now be provided to the 14 member panel, after which the first of two open calls for funding applications will be made. For information and updates on the new Change Something Fund visit www.derrystrabane.com/changesomething
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