PUPILS and teachers from Sandelford School, Coleraine and Castle Tower School, Ballymena were delighted to meet the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Teresa Villiers MP, to showcase their joint peace building activities recently.
The special event highlighted the joint collaboration between the two schools over the past 12 months.
The schools attract young people from a wide area, the Glens, Dunloy, the Coleraine estates, Bushmills, Macosquin, and Ballymena.
They came together to deliver a sports focused programme giving the young people a chance to try sports from a different community and to build cross-community relationships through a series of workshops focusing on shared interests.
The North East PEACE III Partnership is currently delivering a £4.6m action plan funded by the European Union’s PEACE III Programme, in Coleraine, Ballymena, Ballymoney, Larne, Limavady and Moyle.
Speaking of the schools-based project, Ian Donaghey, Vice Chair of the North East PEACE III Partnership, said: “The overall aim is to increase the confidence, knowledge, capacity and skills of young people to explore their own identity and that of others, to build trust and tolerance and to take part in cross group work on diversity, sectarianism, racism and mediation.
“We hope this in turn will build leadership, trust and tolerance of others and contribute to peace building in their respective communities and through teaching staff, ensure a longer legacy.”
The principal of Sandelford, Sharon Tennant, said that the experience of meeting the Secretary of State was “the icing on the cake for the pupils and it was a wonderful conclusion to project”.
“Any chance for the young people to participate with others from outside the school gives them the confidence and ability to interact socially within their communities,” she said.
Sharon also welcomed further opportunities to work with the North East PEACE III Partnership in the future.