Ministers join Fair Chance participants at final celebration

Fair Chance Celebration event

Ministers join Fair Chance participants at final celebration

Ministers join Fair Chance participants at final celebration

Junior Ministers Jennifer McCann MLA and Emma Pengelly MLA joined the participants of Co-operation Ireland’s Fair Chance programme on Monday 21 March as they celebrated their completion of the programme.

Through Co-operation Ireland’s partnership with Resurgam Trust, Twinbrook/Lagmore Youth Group, Monkstown Boxing Club, and Colin Glen Trust approximately 80 young people from Belfast, Lisburn, Lurgan and Portadown undertook and completed the programme, whose aim was to build positive and lasting relationships between young people from different communities.

This was certainly evident on the night as the young people mixed and mingled. Aoife from Colin Glen said the best thing about the programme was the residentials as it was then that she really got to make friends with the other groups.

Courtney from Monkstown said the same. She added that while she would have visited west Belfast, she hadn’t known anyone there.

Now the two are best of friends and planning days out in town and at each other’s houses.

At the celebration event at the Crumlin Road Gaol, some of the young people spoke to the audience about their what some of the activities and courses they completed during the programme, including courses and training supplied by Bank Of Ireland.

The Ministers then presented certificates to all of the young participants.

Junior Minister Jennifer McCann said: “It is the attitudes and values of young people that will be central to building a truly shared and united society.  It is clear the practical approach of the Fair Chance programme, combining employability skills and workshops to promote mutual respect and understanding, has had a powerful impact on the young people involved and I am sure each one of them has a great future ahead. I am pleased the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister have been able to support this initiative.”

Junior Minister Emma Pengelly said: “I have been very impressed by the work of Co-operation Ireland’s Fair Chance Programme.  It has been funded with almost £158,000 through our department as it clearly contributes to developing good relations and building a united society across our community. The Fair Chance programme has done excellent work in equipping participants with the confidence and skills to look to the future with hope and self-belief.  I am confident their experiences will be a lasting influence and I congratulate them all for taking up this opportunity.”

The Fair Chance Programme was funded by OFMdFM and supported by Bank of Ireland and the Washington Ireland Programme.