New youth programme will give marginalised young people a voice
A programme to develop the next generation of leaders in the City of Belfast and give them a say at the heart of local government has been launched by Belfast City Council and peace building charity Co-operation Ireland.
Young Advocates is a programme designed to give young people who would not normally have an opportunity to address their concerns to councillors and officials in Belfast City Council a chance to influence decision making.
The aim of the programme is to build skills and confidence so the participants can lobby on behalf of issues they believe are critical to young people in the city, and influence positive change.
The programme has been devised for 16 -24 year olds and the participants have been drawn from all communities across the city. Many of those taking part live in single identity communities that have borne the brunt of division and continue to be affected by problems arising from interfaces.
Co-operation Ireland are lead partners in the programme along with Belfast City Council. Funding is provided by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) Peace IV programme.
Co-operation Ireland CEO Peter Sheridan said; “Giving young people a voice helps to reduce marginalisation which has benefits for society as a whole. Through learning skills and gaining confidence in talking to elected representatives it is our belief that we will be helping to mould the city leaders of the future.