THE North East PEACE III Detached Youth Project is currently working throughout the North East area and hosted an alternative Sports Day on the East Strand in Portrush last Wednesday.
The Project works with young people who are detached from community activity and who have little or no links to existing organisations and interventions.
As a result of this non engagement these young people are frequently at risk of anti-social behaviours, including sectarian activity. The project provides experienced youth workers and facilitators to help make connections and develop relationships with these young people.
The aim is to ensure that they are supported to engage in leadership programmes and learn new and valuable skills. The project is funded under the European Union’s PEACE III Programme and is managed on behalf of the Special EU Programmes Body by the North East PEACE III Partnership.
The Sports Day was an opportunity for these young people to come together to share experiences and begin to develop an understanding and acceptance of other traditions and cultures.
It also provided a chance to try new sporting skills such as Tag Rugby, Hurling, Gaelic Football, Volleyball, water sports and a whole range of alternative games, focusing on having fun through learning to helpdevelop relationships. 87 Young people attended on the day from Ballymena, Larne, Ballymoney, Coleraine, Limivady and Moyle.
Neil Symington, Project Coordinator from Northern Ireland Youth Forum, said: “For the last seven months our team of detached youth workers has been engaging withyoung people in 12 different areas from Dungiven to Dunclug and Loughguile to Larne.
“The Sports Day was the first opportunity we have had to bring all the young people together and the event gave them an opportunity to meet up and start to break down barriers. Within the Detached Youth Project we have a clear vision of tackling sectarianism and racism and this event is part of the journey in achieving this vision.”