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A CROSS community project in Lurgan has been awarded a quarter of a million pounds to carry on its good work.

The Shankill Parish Caring Association in Lurgan will receive £286,286 to extend its successful Youth Reach Project to involve more young people in the town, to reach out to adults and to recruit and train local volunteers to help strengthen community cohesion across Lurgan.

The grant comes as part of a £4.6million package from the International Fund for Ireland for peace building, reconciliation and community relations projects

The Youth Reach Project is an integral part of Shankill Parish Caring Association based in The Jethro Centre.

The project focuses on equipping young people from the age of 15 to 18 with the skills and knowledge to educate other young people on how to deal with differences and manage conflict.

The aims of the project are to reduce community tension, promote community capacity, help understand identity and cultural background, look at Lurgan’s contentious issues, equip young people with the skills and knowledge to deal with contentious issues and engage in a process of peace building.

Since its launch three years ago the Youth Reach Project has worked with hundreds of young people on a wide variety of events including mural tours, mural projects, residentials, sports programmes, presentation evenings and trips.

As well as providing a vast variety of activities to bring the communities together the project has also provided young people with an opportunity to gain a qualification through offering Open College Network (OCN) accreditation from Levels One to Three in areas of Good Relations and Diversity or Civic Leadership, Contentious Issues and Conflict.

The project has worked alongside Lurgan YMCA and the LINKS project.

One ground-breaking partnership includes 20 young people from Mourneview and Taghnevan coming together to complete an OCN Level 2 in Conflict Management.

The Youth Reach Project has been involved in the Lurgan Town Project since its inception and was privileged to be part of the Lurgan Town Project pilot programme in which young people participated in designing and creating a 3D model of Lurgan.

This programme won the Northern Ireland Youth Award for Peace Building.