Newry.ie

A unique cross border project has seen 26 young people from the Newry and Armagh area come together to celebrate taking further steps towards a better future for themselves. The Regener8 youth development project has helped equip, resource and empower participants with skills, experience and knowledge to encourage them to engage positively within their local communities, developing much needed life skills and preparing them for employment or further education.

Supported through the International Fund for Ireland’s Personal Youth Development Programme (PYDP), the project is working with young people aged 16-25, who have faced a range of complex issues including; poor mental health, substance abuse, homelessness, difficult family backgrounds, been in or close to the criminal system and have not participated in society in a positive manner.

The project marked its end of year celebration at Bellini’s in Newry, where each participant’s achievements were recognised with a certificate presentation.

Pictured at the Clanrye Group celebration event in Newry are participants Jack McVey, Caoimhe Quinn, alongside International Fund for Ireland board member Siobhan Fitzpatrick and Employment Support Officer Tony McAteer.
Pictured at the Clanrye Group celebration event in Newry are participants Jack McVey, Caoimhe Quinn, alongside International Fund for Ireland board member Siobhan Fitzpatrick and Employment Support Officer Tony McAteer.

Commenting on the programme Siobhan Fitzpatrick, International Fund for Ireland Board Member said “Our PYDP programme is designed to target those who feel left behind. It goes beyond the traditional concept of a youth initiative and allows participants to become actively involved in planning their own future goals and ambitions. Participants actively engage in a range of activities including; personal development, good relations, employability, vocational skills, peace and reconciliation and wellbeing.

“Regener8 is transforming young lives so participants can embrace their futures with confidence and ambition.”

As part of the initiative, young people worked together to identify a social issue that they could help address. In the last year they have regenerated disused subway steps in Newry now called the William Davis Garden, two intergenerational projects in Newtownhamilton and Crossmaglen and finally the BASE project video, which promotes the range of support available to young people in the area who have been exposed to drugs.

The project was funded a further £287,351 in November 2017 to continue its outreach for another two years in the area.

Members of the Clanrye Regener8 team with Newry 2020 members at the William Alexander Davis Garden project.
Members of the Clanrye Regener8 team with Newry 2020 members at the William Alexander Davis Garden project.

Dara O’Hagan, Manager of Youth and Family Services at Clanrye Group said “Our project targets young people with complex issues such as poor mental health, unstable family backgrounds, addictions, homelessness, depression and criminality. These issues are unfortunately all too common in communities today and young people are at real risk of being drawn towards negative influences.

“We address these issues head on and equip participants with knowledge, skill sets and confidence to build a positive future. We are delighted that the project has attracted a mix of existing and new participants who are keen to build brighter futures – seven young people have secured employment and three have gone into further education. We are looking forward to what the next chapter holds for young people in the area.”

Funding to the Regener8 Project was provided through the International Fund for Ireland’s Personal Youth Development Programme, which is managed by the Rural Development Council.

Ryan Morgan, a Regener8 participant explained the impact the programme has had on his life “I had been unemployed for two years with no light at the end of the tunnel. I was getting up, watching TV and going back to bed. That was my life. I heard about Regener8. It was the best programme I could have been on. I met the best people and got so many qualifications. Because of these qualifications, I have been able to build up my CV.

“One of the things I love are the people I have met – some of them are now my best friends. Next year I hope to meet more people, and get even more experience. I would love to get my driving test so the lessons will help me a lot as I live so far away.”

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