Youth Council announced for Ards and North Down

Youth Council announced for Ards and North Down

I am thrilled to be able to pass on the news that The Northern Ireland Youth Forum (NIYF) has been tasked by the Ards and North Down PEACE IV Partnership to set up the ‘Capacity Building & Youth Leadership Programme’.

Young people in Ards and North Down are being urged to take part in a new youth leadership programme that will give them a voice on the issues that most affect them.

Through this programme, NIYF will work with young people to establish eight local youth forums across the Borough, culminating in the formation of the Ards & North Down Youth Council. 

I have been working and lobbying for a Youth Council to engage the aspirations our young people have for our Borough for the past four years – and finally it is to become a reality. But as I have said in the past, unless the Borough Council creates a mechanism for the outcomes of the Youth Council to be fed into policy making, then it will be a missed opportunity. So that’s the real challenge.

So if you know of any young person between 16 and 24 who might be interested in taking part in the programme, contact Ian Donald on 028 9033 1990, 0784 101 4210 or for further information.

I’m thrilled that the Chair of Ards and North Down PEACE IV Partnership has also welcomed the start of a the Programme. Alderman Carson said “Throughout the consultation on the development of the PEACE IV Plan, young people very clearly identified the need to have their voices heard more strongly in the Council area, to meet other young people from different community backgrounds from across the area and beyond, to be given respect and credence for their views and to be taken more seriously in the peace building work in the Borough.”

Project Co-ordinator, Ian Donald said: “We think this a tremendous opportunity to bolster youth participation across the Borough, working closely with key stakeholders and youth providers, it will create a platform for young people to influence decision makers and advocate for other young people on issues that are important to young people”.

The Capacity Building & Youth Leadership Programme is open to all young people aged 16 to 24 who live in the Ards and North Down Borough Council area,and will engage with 144 young people throughout the life span of the programme.

The young people engaging will be the primary beneficiaries of the programme and following their participation in an intense training and capacity building programme they will be inspired and motivated to ‘step up to the mark’ as future leaders and youth champions.

The aim of this programme over the next three years is to establish the eight separate youth forums from local communities in the Ards and North Down Borough Council area.

Each forum will be youth led and will include: Personal & Social Development; Capacity Building; Citizenship and Good Relations through bespoke training ‘Making Your Youth Council Work for You ’

The development of the forums will lead to 32 ‘Peace Champions’ being elected by the young people to represent each forum at a youth council level to engage with Ards and North Down Borough Council on issues that are important to young people and their community.

All of the 32 Peace Champions will also be given the opportunity to complete an OCNNI level 2 accredited Peer Mentoring Training, which will provide the skills and knowledge to allow them to successfully sustain the youth forums for the foreseeable future and provide a platform for other young people to come through their forumto become the Peace Champions of the future.

All eight youth forums, and 32 Peace champions will also be responsible to plan, implement and facilitate ‘Youth Fest’ this will be an event which will see all 144 young people from the forums, gather to celebrate, debate and take action of issues impacting on their lives and communities.

If you are between 12 and 24 and interested in taking part in the programme, contact Ian Donald on 02890 331990, 07841014210 or for further information.

Leave a Comment