Two Donegal initiatives have received almost €200,000 under the Personal Youth Development Programme from the International Fund for Ireland (IFL).
The funding comes after calls by the IFL, which will invest €1,359,631 into nine projects, to strengthen partnerships and boost community leadership is key to rebuilding trust, which has been broken by ongoing uncertainty.
The Inishowen Development Partnership (€98,810) and Downstrands Family Resource Centre (€82,529) both received a share of the funding.
The grant will cover a 15-month ‘CHANCE’ Project, to support marginalised 16-25-year-olds in the Inishowen Peninsula area.
Skills training, personal development and leisure activities will facilitate pathways for progression into education, training or work.
Meanwhile, Downstrands Family Resource Centre has been covered for 12 months under the ‘Ignite Your Future’ project.
The project will target 16-25-year-olds in the rural South West region of Donegal. The project will work with communities experiencing high levels of deprivation.
The programme will equip young people with the skills and knowledge to help them overcome social isolation, build peer support and begin to develop critical thinking and independence.
The funding has been allocated to a range of initiatives across the Peace Impact Programme (PIP) and Personal Youth Development Programme (PYDP).
These groups face many challenges and are working hard to remove the influence of paramilitaries and offer alternative paths of engagement for opportunities and positive life choices.
Paddy Harte, Chairman of the International Fund for Ireland says: “External challenges such as the ongoing uncertainty of Brexit, the lack of a functioning Executive and the rise of hardline dissidents have created a considerable void, which is having a very negative impact upon communities.
“Understandably, we can see that these challenges have resulted in mistrust and alienation for some. It comes at a critical time in the Peace Process where we want to see communities flourish instead of returning to darker times of the past.
“The Fund is the only organisation that is engaging with some of the most disengaged in society. We are transforming lives and going where others aren’t in order to give those communities the tools to rebuild trust and prevent the escalation of tensions and polarisation.
“Despite a clear lack of political leadership across the board, community leaders must be commended as they have risen to the challenge during these uncertain times. They are unsung heroes but without collaboration with other key organisations/government, they simply cannot deliver positive outcomes on the scale that is required.
“Our programmes are making important inroads to help resolve legacy issues, encourage dialogue around difficult conversations as well as tackling deprivation, employment skills, mental health issues, drugs and alcohol abuse and paramilitary activity.”
“It is vital that this momentum continues so that communities can prosper, become self-sufficient and offer a better life for generations to come.”