CATCH panel hearing 2016

Justice Minister David Ford is panellist for CATCH Project Event

CATCH panel hearing 2016

CATCH panel hearing 2016

On 22 January, Year 10 students from fours schools in Lurgan and North Belfast - Edmund Rice College, Hazelwood College, Lurgan Junior High School and St. Ronan’s Junior High School participated in a panel hearing involving prominent political, civic and community leaders. The event was the culmination of their year-long participation in Co-operation Ireland’s CATCH (Challenging Attitudes, Changing Horizons) Programme.

Justice Minister David Ford MLA and Co-operation Ireland’s CEO Peter Sheridan were two of the panellist and the students were given the opportunity to quiz them on the issues they believe are challenges in their local communities.

CATCH encourages young people to make their voices heard in a positive way.  The project  promotes a holistic, high quality approach to education which is inclusive of all and can maximise the potential of our young people.  Participants have explored plans to improve community facilities and made suggestions around improving leisure centres and parks as well as what can be done to address problems around rioting and anti-social behaviour. The panel hearing gave the young people from the two areas a chance to have their say and to have politicians, media and community representative answer their questions about the issues facing their communities.

CATCH Project activities have run from October 2015 until January 2016.  They have involved an introductory workshop in each of the participating schools, trust and team building sessions at the Belfast Activity Centre, discussion based workshops at the 174 Trust (including input from former political prisoners) and completion of the RADAR (Risk Avoidance and Danger Awareness Resource) programmes on anti-sectarianism and consequences of risk-taking behaviour followed by workshops at the Hammer Youth Centre.  The project has been delivered with facilitators from R City CIC. Through this process, the participants identified the issues which they wish to see addressed during the panel session.  It was followed by a screening of the project DVD (produced by Ignition) and celebration lunch.  Almost 100 young people, teachers, political and community representatives attended.