Funding allows Women’s Aid to help Larne youth

A PROJECT to support young people in the Larne area who have dropped out of education because their lives have been affected by domestic violence has been awarded a grant from the Big Lottery Fund.

Women’s Aid has been awarded a grant of £499,997 from the Big Lottery Fund’s Reaching out: Empowering Young People programme, which supports young people most at risk in Northern Ireland, including those who have been disengaged from education, involved in crime or in care.

The organisation has been awarded £499,997 to run training programmes, tutoring sessions and mentoring support at their centres in Larne, Carrickfergus, Antrim, Ballymena and Newtownabbey for young people whose experience of domestic violence has caused them to underachieve at school or leave education.

The support services will help to boost the young people’s self esteem, educate them about healthy relationships and bullying and provide them with teaching and training so they can return to education or go on to find jobs.

“Living in a home where there is violence has a huge impact on a young person’s education,” said area manager Rosemary Magill.

“Often children are kept at home in order to protect their mother, or the mum is not able to walk them to school because she has been hurt, so they end up missing lots of school or dropping out.

“This project is about improving the opportunities of young people in the Larne area and across Northern Ireland, opportunities which have been taken from them because they have had to deal with the threat of domestic violence.

“They may need after school or homework support, or tutoring on specific classes and we will support mums so they can help their children with their homework too.

“But the programme is not just about schoolwork. We will also help young people explore their feelings about things like domestic violence and bullying and raise awareness of healthy, non-violent relationships.

“We are giving these young people the chance to lead happy, fulfilled lives and achieve their goals.”

Frank Hewitt, Big Lottery Fund NI chair, said: “The programme is supporting a range of vital projects that are transforming the lives of isolated young people in our communities who are at risk of crime or have dropped out of school, are not in education or employment, or are living with disabilities or the impact of violence. Our funding is supporting those young people who need our help the most.”