Supporting those who need it most

BCM Spearheads Intergenerational Initiative

BCM Spearheads Intergenerational Initiative

Belfast Central Mission’s Housing Support for Young People project is spearheading a cutting-edge new initiative as part of the EU’s Peace IV Programme in conjunction with Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Council.

In collaboration with the BEAM Creative Network, the ‘Opportunities to Engage’ programme will provide training and skills development for a mixed group of 16-25 year olds and those 60+ from across the ABC area.

The project is funded by the PEACE IV programme, a cross-border initiative financed through the European Union and managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). It has been designed to support peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland and the Border Region of Ireland.

In addition to supporting peace and reconciliation, the Programme also contributes to the promotion of social and economic stability, in particular through actions to promote cohesion between communities.

The programme commenced on Tuesday, 5th February and runs every three weeks for the next ten months and provides short courses on upcycling, photography, cookery and video production.

Participants will also have the opportunity to be part of two away days, allowing both young and old to venture beyond their daily surroundings and enjoy a casual bonding experience with other programme participants.

Joanne McCourt, BCM Project Manager at Sunnyside House in Dungannon, said;

“The young people we work with identified a gap in the opportunities provided to engage across different generations. This new project will bring these two age groups together to share a joint learning experience, whether that be cooking or grasping new skills.

“We are delighted to be able to create opportunities to enhance our service users’ social support networks, which are limited, and offer them the chance to learn new skills, learn from others, and make friends along the way.”

‘Opportunities to Engage’ forms part of the Peace IV Building Positive Relations project which has resulted in numerous initiatives throughout Northern Ireland which address issues around segregation and social deprivation.

It is being facilitated by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council which is committed to rolling out activities that promote cultural and community cohesion, particularly in areas which suffer most acutely from division.

John Devaney, Programme Manager for the Peace IV Council Programme, said;

“Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council is delighted to be delivering this project for the benefit of both young and older people across the region.

“It is hoped that this initiative, as part of the Peace IV programme, will give participants the opportunity to engage with each other and with other groups supported through BCM and explore issues that are affecting them, both individually and collectively.”

Additionally, the project will explore issues faced by both young and old such as isolation and mental ill health and include opportunities to hear from support organisations working in the ABC locality.

A showcase event is planned at the end of the project to highlight the skills, work and achievements of the group as part of the initiative.