Junior Minister Megan Fearon and Junior Minister Alastair Ross today opened an event to showcase the progress of an Early Intervention project to help vulnerable young people across West Belfast and Shankill area.
The Social Investment Fund project, funded by the Northern Ireland Executive’s Delivering Social Change fund, is providing valuable support to young people most in need to divert them away from antisocial behaviour and channel their energy into making a brighter future for them, their families and community.
Speaking at the event in the Wholly Ground Cafe in Belfast, Junior Minster Fearon said: “The Executive’s Social Investment fund has provided £926,000 to fund this project and it is great to see first-hand how it is delivering for young people in the area. 310 people have taken part during the first year, that’s 310 people who have stepped forward and chosen to go down a positive path.
“Often we focus on addressing issues which have already materialised. This project is about intervention, helping young people turn their lives around rather than wait until it is too late. Those involved today have used the support this project offers to overcome difficult personal challenges and I’m really impressed by their achievements. The Social Investment Fund is about supporting communities to identify and address their own needs and today is evidence it can really work.”
Speaking at the event, Junior Minister Ross said: “The Northern Ireland Executive has committed £70million of the Social Investment Fund to projects across all of Northern Ireland. These projects are offering opportunities in areas such as employment, early intervention and education to provide direct support to people who need it to improve their future potential.
“This project has taken a group of young people who are at risk of going down the wrong path. It has given them dedicated support to find out about other options available to them. It provides a guiding and supporting arm to help them overcome their difficulties and have a better future. Active Communities Network are to be congratulated for their hard work and determination to make life better for the young people involved, their families, communities and, ultimately, all the people of Northern Ireland.”
The three year scheme was developed by the Belfast West SIF Steering Group and is being delivered by Active Communities Network project which is managed by Falls Community Council.
Notes to editors:
- Media enquiries to The Executive Office press office on 028 9037 8201. Out of office hours, please contact the duty press office via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.
- Delivering Social Change is the Northern Ireland Executive’s framework, set up to tackle poverty and social exclusion. It aims to deliver a sustained reduction in poverty and associated issues across all ages and to improve children and young people’s health, well-being and life opportunities thereby breaking the long term cycle of multi-generational problems. For more information, visit The Executive Office website.
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