In summer 2015, the Northern Ireland (NI) government launched an exciting new pilot project called “United Youth” as part of their “Together: Building a United Community” strategy. Children and young people are a key focus of this strategy given their “important role” in Northern Ireland and how they “immensely contribute to society”. A key target under this priority therefore, is to create projects for young people to “socialise, learn and work together.” As a result of this initiative, thirteen organisations across Northern Ireland were selected from a pool of over 100 applications, and PeacePlayers International – Northern Ireland (PPI-NI) was lucky enough to be one of those thirteen. I have no doubt that PPI-NI will make a unique and significant contribution to the United Youth project and will positively impact the lives of Northern Ireland’s young people in the process .
Eight 16-24 year olds from across Belfast, who are not in education, training, or employment, will work with PPI-NI for eight months. These young people will take part in a community relations through sport programme and a peer leadership and mentoring programme in order to gain the skills and qualifications that will help with their future employment. Our Senior Champions for Peace (C4P) participants will play a key role in delivering this pilot programming by acting as peer mentors to the eight young people.
In true PeacePlayers style, the eight months will be jam-packed. Our United Youth participants will gain practical work experience with an international NGO and will be part of the teams who deliver our core programming of basketball and community relations activities. They will also work with their C4P counterparts to achieve two accredited Open College Network (OCN) qualifications in Promoting Diversity Through Sport. After gaining the qualifications, the participants will then use their new skills and knowledge to create a new OCN course that can be delivered to other children and young people who wish to gain qualifications and improve their personal development.
As if that isn’t enough, the eight participants in PPI-NI’s United Youth Pilot will organise and deliver the first ever youth led Belfast Interface Games for 9-13 year olds from across Belfast in summer 2016. During this three day long camp, children from across Belfast will come together to form integrated teams that will compete in soccer, Gaelic football, rugby and of course, basketball! It is an amalgamation and celebration of all of the activities PPI-NI runs throughout the year, from our in-school twinnings to our after-school Interface League.
At the end of the eight month pilot, PPI-NI will have trained and empowered eight new “Champions for Peace” to use sport as a tool to actively promote peace in their parts of the community. Five young people have already signed up to the programming and have already started to expand their knowledge and grow in confidence, all because of their involvement PPI-NI for only a few weeks. Imagine what these young people will have achieved after eight months?
Sounds great, right? Well, there is still time for YOU to be one of those eight young leaders, and, not forgetting to mention that you get paid up to £40 per week in the process! This is an amazing and exclusive opportunity. If you think you could be the next addition to the PPI-NI family then please get in touch! You can contact Debbie Byrne by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 028 9066 7416.
We look forward to welcoming you to our PeacePlayers family!