Programmes: Youth Voices
The Inner East Youth Project traces its roots back to 1995 when a group of individuals and representatives of voluntary and statutory agencies met to discuss their concerns about the state of youth provision in inner east Belfast. These meetings helped shape the project and this group were responsible for the 'Something More Than Pool' publication. This pulled together the views of young people and adults and highlighted the state of play within youth provision in inner east Belfast.
'Something More Than Pool' was the result of a process aimed at engaging young people in a meaningful and constructive way towards the development of a youth strategy for inner east Belfast. The result of the process confirmed "there was nothing to do and nowhere to go." It highlighted emphatically the absence of formal and informal consultative processes and structures. Furthermore, it stated that young people were excluded in their own neighbourhoods. Than an untapped asset of the area was the young people who live in it. And that young people were waiting to play a part in its social economical regeneration.
The beginning of this new century cannot but generate reflections of the past wondering, perhaps with some trepidation, about what holds for the future. In the past decade rapid changes in personal, social, political and economic circumstances and transformations in communication systems which allow instant access to each other as well as interactive information on a world wide scale, means that the experiences and expectations of youth are very different from those of previous generations. Influences on social policy by the radical right, for eighteen years, prompted changes in attitudes towards welfare, education, health, employment and housing, based upon a free market economy which encouraged the pursuit of individualism and morality of 'God helps those who help themselves'. This was justified and off-set by small doses of magnanimous philanthropy for the deserving poor.
Thus the socialising experience of youth in recent times has been of a widening gap between rich and poor, fanned by the flames of commercialism which for many set unattainable targets, giving rise to the social exclusion of a significant group of young people.
Considering the implications of social policy for youth work and the youth service, it has been argued that social policy places young people centre stage in ways that prevent them from appearing themselves, but instead within categories convenient to policy makers. 'Youth Policy' is often characterised by a shopping list of issues irrelevant to the real needs of young people. Smith (1997) states: "the price of advance into the future is to change. The established youth service is it's own worst enemy, fearful of the future and over-protective practice well past it's sell by date."
As an innovative community based voluntary youth organisation, and in the context of the above, Inner East Youth Project strives to break new ground, convey confidence in young people, develop models of good practical delivery and promote the methodology of informal education, with young people - through making contact and creating opportunities specific to the needs of young people, who do not attend traditional modes of existing provision, identified as an untapped asset of the area. Differentiating ourselves from other providers within the inner east Belfast area by working in partnership with marginalized young people. Young people who have been waiting to play a part in their community's social and economic regeneration.
Our continued work, vast array of practical experience, knowledge of the area and an holistic understanding of the economic status of its inhabitants, provides us with essential credentials in addressing the identified specific needs of marginalized individuals and groupings of young people within the community.
The Generation V/IEYP programme places great emphasis on the training and learning the young people will undoubtedly achieve through the many opportunities provided in the programme.
Identify training programmes for young people relevant to highlighting the community's attention to their particular needs.
In looking at the five phases in the training cycle IEYP will utilize all aspects to initiate the opportunity for development in the young people.
Training can be viewed as a cyclical process which is ongoing. There are five distinct phases in the cycle, all of which logically follow on from the previous stage.
For the IEYP evaluation throughout the programme is an ongoing process, in order to continually refine and improve the training.
The five stages which relate to objective one in the proposal in more detail;
Analysing training needs:
1. Needs at community level
2. Needs at group level
3. Needs at individual level
The exact relative importance of the three areas are that they will involve the identification of the people to be trained and the competency gap to be bridged.
The Newtownards Road is a highly populated inner city area overshadowed, in many ways, by the giant cranes and massive workshops of the once thriving Harland & Wolff Shipyard.
The people who make up the Newtownards Road community are from a proud and loyal pedigree. A pedigree that consisted of valued principles and moral ethics, where everyone had / has a place / position. i.e.
For young people, in the mid-lower Newtownards Road area, opportunities for them to voice their opinions, and be listened too are limited, some may even say none existent.
To explore and address the barriers to include young people having more decision making powers on issues that effect them in the Newtownards Road area of east Belfast.
The focus group:
Ten young protestant males aged between 15 - 18, from the Newtownards Road area of east Belfast.
Whilst highlighting the issues to key community representatives the young people gained and developed a range of social skills ranging from communication, seeing it from anothers point of view, to assertiveness and understanding how groups work.
Over the course of this specific programme it has been clearly evident that young people from the mid - lower Newtownards Road feel a sense of isolation within their own community.
For the ten young males who participated there has been a learning experience coupled with a feeling of frustration.
A frustration with the community, the community structures and systems, those who 'represent' it and the formal education system for not 'preparing them for life' in the real word.
This programme has enabled those who participated to look at how they could best eradicate the barriers to including young people having more decision making powers on issues that effect them in the mid-lower Newtownards road.
Patsy Laverty CDW-DART
Michael Briggs CDW-DART
Bobby Ellison Community Affairs
Gareth McKeown Community Affairs
Matt Milligan GEB Youth Strategy
South and East Belfast Partnership Boards
George Newell CDW-BACS
David McMurray YP
Craig Downes YP
Noel Algie YP
Thomas Calvert YP
Creig Morton YP
Chris Hawkes YP
Craig Hill YP
Glenn Upton YP
Johnny Brown YP
Paul Laverty YP
Focus on developing social and life skills when working with young people and the community.
Meaningful Participation - (no tokenism)
Understanding and greater recognition of the context in which young people survive/live/develop.
Initiate courses/meeting to explore the values of those who work with young people and formulate meaningful and developmental processes which enable personal and community development.
© 2000 Inner East Youth Project
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