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Making a difference in Strathfoyle

Published: Fri, 16 Sep 2016
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Young people taking part in positive pursuits.
The Housing Executive has been making a difference to the lives of a group of disengaged young people in county Derry.
A group of 20 young people, aged 14-18, who felt disengaged and were involved in risk taking activities, had approached Enagh Youth Forum to ask for help and support.
And so the Positive Pursuits project was born. We agreed to financially support the project to make positive interventions through diversionary activities.
What started off as a project for 20 ended up in benefitting 44 young people directly, including some as young as 12 years old.
Over a three month period, the young people got involved in sessions to address community safety, anti-social behaviour, bullying, bonfires, older people and the fear of crime, and law and order.
Enagh Youth Forum had already started to remove offensive graffiti within the estate and as part of the Positive Pursuits project this has continued to the extent that 95 per cent of all offensive graffiti has been removed.
Young people also did estate walkabouts documenting any faults and issues and reporting to relevant authorities, ensuring they learned the importance of having a safer, cleaner and shared community.
Activities included an estate clean-up, coasteering, gorge walking, rock climbing, kayaking, fishing with pre-released prisoners, prison visits and taking part in accredited training.
The group then put together a summer community newsletter to showcase their progress and the project to the Strathfoyle community.
Avril McAllister, our Area Manager for West, said:
“Tackling anti-social behaviour is a priority for us and this project aimed to do that within Strathfoyle. Engaging these young people has led to community safety being  improved and young people are being promoted in a much more positive light.”
Eamonn O Donnell, of Enagh Youth Forum said:
“This summer has been great for local young people and residents. There is a real sense of voice, resilience and community in Strathfoyle. All groups continue to provide vital community services and we feel there have been increased levels of partnership working locally and we are moving forward as a community.
"We would like to thank the Housing Executive as without its support we would not have been as effective on the ground at supporting young people and developing the local community in such a  positive way.”