Social media project to boost town centre

SOCIAL media savvy teenagers are using their networking skills to promote their town.

The young people are working with social entrepreneur Damien Harte to hone their skills and have developed a ‘I Love Lurgan’ project to promote active citizenship.

They’ve come to Damien via Wade Training and three of the unemployed teenagers have been promised jobs come Christmas.

Damien, who is the lead social consultant for Bangor-based software firm Omnisoft, explained: “My company work in partnership with Wade Training. We take in young people and train them up over a year.

“It’s a period of learning and developing for these young people and as part of the programme they’ve set up a project to promote active citizenship.”

Damien has given them £250 of his own money to kickstart things with the instruction they have to turn it into something positive.

Through the ‘I Love Lurgan’ project the young people are offering support to the local business community using social media. For example they’ll set up Facebook and Twitter pages to promote businesses and help them get a digital footprint.

The project also helps to raise awareness about Lurgan itself and bring people into the town. This involves giving out free merchandise to promote businesses in the town. For example, last Wednesday they promoted a free barbecue with burgers provided by John Dowey’s.

Damien said: “What we intend to do is link into other businesses and do stuff on their behalf. We aim to build relationships that will be mutually beneficial to everyone involved.”

Damien said the young people were hoping to link up with the Premier and with the help of local artist Dermot McConaghy do some artwork at the entry beside the bar.

He added: “Omnisoft want to employ people whose skills are in social media. What we’re doing through this training programme is honing the skills these young people already have and making them marketplace ready.

“Omnisoft want to employ up to 116 people in the next two years. Three people out of this project will have employment by Christmas. Then they’ll be looking for another 20.”