Pupils celebrate their ‘xl-ent’ achievements

Young people from Larne High School xl club at the celebration event in Lisburn. INLT 11-609-CON
Young people from Larne High School xl club at the celebration event in Lisburn. INLT 11-609-CON

PUPILS from Larne High School were among more than 230 young people from across Northern Ireland who gathered in the Lagan Valley Island Centre, Lisburn to celebrate their participation in The Prince’s Trust xl clubs.

The event, which was hosted by Pete Snodden of CoolFM, proved a great hit with the young people, who each received a certificate of completion from David Guilfoyle of the Youth Council for Northern Ireland.

The Prince’s Trust xl clubs provide a personal development programme aimed at young people aged 13 to 19 at risk of underachievement or exclusion from school. Using an informal approach to learning, the clubs provide young people with the space and attention they need to develop confidence as well as to form a sense of ownership of their own development.

Explaining the importance and success of the xl programme, Siobhan Caulfield, senior head of programmes at the Prince’s Trust said: “In the last four years The Prince’s Trust xl programme has re-engaged 2,132 young people with education. Currently 91 per cent of young people completing the xl programme progress to further education, employment, training or volunteering.

“ The average cost of excluding a young person from education is estimated at £15,000 while xl costs on average £250 per young person over two years and is proven to work in underachievement.

“We are delighted to have so many here today who have participated in the xl programme and we would like to thank all those involved in getting them this far, including the schools and centres, advisers and in particular, the Youth Council for Northern Ireland for their continued support and funding.”

David Guilfoyle, chief executive of the Youth Council for Northern Ireland commented: “One of the main indicators which determine whether or not young people get into trouble with the law is whether or not they are attending school, therefore programmes such as xl are vitally important. We at the Youth Council are delighted to support the xl programme”.