Great summer at Loughshore

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THE SELB Rural & Loughshore Youth Initiative joined forces with Maghery Youth Club to organise a Summer Diversity Programme at Maghery Community Hall and Shannaghmore Outdoor Education Centre, Newcastle recently.

A total of 136 young people aged between eight and 17, including 15 young leaders, participated in the diverse range of educational and fun related activities. There were well over 100 on average each day during the first week while 43 13-to-17 year olds participated in the second week of activities at Shannaghmore.

Children and older youths came from the three electoral wards of Aghagallon, Derrytrasa and the Birches

Like any new initiative involving bringing young people together from different cultural and Christian perspectives, there will always be some challenging situations. This did not stop the groups having so many different and enjoyable experiences with their peers throughout the whole programme. The programme gave participants lots of choices to decide what activities they wanted to take part in without being forced to do.

There were so many highlights but all the activities made a real impact in relation to young people learning about Craigavon Cultural Diversity through fun and enjoyable methods.

The Summer Diversity Programme was a massive undertaking but the young leaders worked extremely hard to plan, prepare and deliver activities with the help and support of the adult leaders. This gave them an insight into the various duties and demands of contemporary youth work provision in a rural community centre setting. They all came through the experience with flying colours. This experience put them at the heart of collective decision making which was never easy at times. It also gave them many new skills which they can deploy in their own rural youth clubs from September onwards.

One very powerful outcome was the creation of the Craigavon Rural & Loughshore Youth Forum. Fourteen young people from Scotch Street, Tartaraghan, Birches, Milltown, Aghagallon, Derrymacash & Derrytrasna Areas will represent rural youth views and organise other combined rural youth initiatives with the help of key youth and community support workers from the SELB/SLNRA and other external youth related agencies.

The programme co-ordinators Siobhan Hoey and Larry Hamilton acknowledged the following individuals and organisations: Gordy Woolsey – Scotch Street Youth Club, Jonny Ritchie, Birches youth worker, Liz Hoy, Wolfe Tones Youth Club, Aimee Quinn, Seven Derrys Youth Club, Vicky Murphy, classroom assistant. Young leaders: Emma Molloy, Caoimbhe Cushnahan, Conor Forker & Eimhear Cushnahan – Maghery Youth Club, Peter Trouton, Mark Trouton, Jessica Peters, Kate Andrews & Michelle Trouton – Milltown Youth Club, Chloe Austin, Aoife Stones & Alex McConville, Wolfe Tones Youth Club, Luke Greenaway, Scotch Street Youth Club, Jane Benson & Laura Hanna (Laurajane) Birches. Mary McAlinden – SLNRA Fancy Dress Judge, Roisin McConville – SELB Craigavon, Banbridge & Cookstown Divisional Youth Officer for presentation of medals and trophies to participants, Sean MaDermotts GAC for usage of their first class facilities, SLNRA for grant aid support through SOAR, SELB Youth Service for Summer Scheme Assistance and other grant aid help. Other thanks go to Craigavon Borough Council Active Communities, Craigavon Intercultural Programme, PSNI Neighbourhood Team, Maghery Community & District Hall Management Committee, Agnews Transport, parents and rural community representatives,

For more information contact rural support outreach youth worker Larry Hamilton on 38343259.