AN innovative new youth intervention programme funded to the tune of almost £90,000 will be rolled out in the coming weeks.
Facilitated by Strabane AYE (Access Youth Engagement), the scheme will help a number of young people across the district who are termed, “at risk,” those who are not currently in either education, training or employment.
Speaking at the scheme’s launch on Tuesday, Paul Gallagher from Strabane AYE said the new project could provide vital help for struggling young people.
“This really is an in-depth new project from Strabane AYE,” Paul explained. “As part of the programme there will be stuff around anti-bullying training, the one punch stuff, healthy eating, harm reduction, how to cook and live on a budget, healthy mind, healthy body – it’s going to be all about holistic live skills.”
In recent months young people across Strabane and district have been criticised for engaging in antisocial behaviour. But according to Paul Gallagher, this project has the potential to turn lives around.
“The total funds for the project come to £89,855,” he continued. “This funding is coming from the International Fund from Ireland with the managing agent Rural Action. Basically, the initiative is a personal youth development programme.
“It’s a programme which is going to target kids at risk – those not in employment, not in education, and not in any training programme. Basically, those on the street. It will take them through various personal development skills and social development. Plus it’s a district wide scheme.
“We have seen a lot in recent weeks, the negative side of anti-social behaviour and with this, we want to try and turn that around to positive engagement.
“Strabane AYE has previously engaged with young people who had been on the wrong road. So many have improved their lives. Some have emigrated to Australia. One become an accountant, one became a soccer coach, some went into the Irish Army… if any of them had been caught up in criminal activity, this would never have happened.”
Paul is urging anyone who is interested to get in touch with Strabane AYE.
“We’re recruiting now and we want to get this programme outbound,” he continued. “It’s very much a programme to provide critical intervention at a critical time for those who have completely fallen through the mainstream systems. What we’re trying to do is provide a safety net.
“We know things like anti-social behaviour are happening and that if we don’t do this kind of critical intervention, things have a habit of reoccurring regularly.
“Under Covid we could see an emergency coming here. And what we’re trying to do is play a part in addressing that.
“This is critical intervention that will make a difference the whole way through participants’ lives.”
The new project will cater for up to 15 young people from across the district and on a cross-community basis. If you are interested, contact Strabane AYE on 028 7188 0023 or through the Facebook page.