Local young people’s groups have received £1.2 million for community projects from the Big Lottery Fund’s Empowering Young People programme.
Larne social enterprise Acceptable Enterprises Limited (AEL) received a grant of £600,000 for their five-year Transitions programme, while Women’s Aid Antrim, Ballymena, Carrickfergus, Larne and Newtownabbey (ABCLN) received £600,000 for their three-year Make It Better project.
AEL’s Transitions programme is designed to provide young people with a learning disability with a structured and organised route from educational children’s services into adult services and, where possible, the world of work.
AEL says that the programme “will ease uncertainty and fear about what the future holds whilst providing opportunities to gain basic work experience and new skills.”
The programme will start in 2017 and includes provision of a young people’s hub at Centre Point on Pound Street
Chief Executive David Hunter said: “This is a massive boost for our organisation and those we seek to help.
“Transitions can be a very difficult time for both young people and their family/ support network.”
Meanwhile, Women’s Aid ABCLN’s Make It Better project will support young people who have been affected by domestic violence and help them to develop their skills, knowledge and understanding.
It also supports them with their education, health and wellbeing and social development. They are helped to understand the barriers they face to learning and set goals to achieve their potential.
The young people are offered training programmes including an OCN in Domestic Violence Prevention, talks on mental health and help with CVs.
They sit on a project advisory group and steering groups which decide activities, help recruit project staff, boost confidence in younger children, fundraise and lobby.