Junior Ministers Megan Fearon and Alastair Ross have visited two of the 105 Summer Camps which are delivered as part of the Executive’s Together Building a United Community strategy (TBUC).
The 105 Summer Camps are being held at a range of locations from Kilrea, Newcastle, Belleek and Limavady and are designed to build positive relationships between young people from different communities, aged 11 to 19.
Junior Ministers Megan Fearon and Alastair Ross met young people from two of the groups taking part in the Executive’s Summer Camp Programme at Woodhall Residential Centre, Kilrea and Tollymore National Outdoor Centre, Newcastle.
Speaking after the visits Junior Minister, Megan Fearon said: “4,000 young people participating in this initiative demonstrates the appetite of our young people to take an active role in shaping a society we can all be proud of.
“The Summer Camp programme is a shining example of how the Executive can provide opportunities for young people to have conversations, deepen their understanding and develop new relationships.
“The Executive Office provided £1.2million in funding to this progressive programme. This programme inspires hope not just with our young people, but across the community that sectarianism and segregation which has divided our community for generations can be banished forever.
“Difference should be celebrated and respected and I congratulate everyone involved in this programme. The young people from the EA Youth Service Larne and Monkstown Boxing Club and indeed all the summer camps can be positive catalysts for change and help unite our community like never before.”
Junior Minister Alastair Ross said: “Last year’s camps were a fantastic success involving over 4,000 young people. Through the experience they met with others from different communities and backgrounds who they may not have had the opportunity to meet in their everyday lives. The camps were designed to help young people understand other peoples’ perspectives, build bonds and make new friendships.
“We have built on last year’s success. It is only by bringing young people together, in events such as these camps, that we can we create a shared society based on good relations and reconciliation. Through understanding and mutual respect our young people can make a real difference for the better.
“The young people I have met from the EA Youth Service Larne and Monkstown Boxing Club camps have given me real hope for the future. They have invested their time and energy to break down barriers, build relationships and help make a Northern Ireland free from sectarianism and division. I thank each of them for making a difference.”
The Summer Camp Programme is one of the headlight actions under the Executive’s Together: Building a United Community Strategy. Last year 101 summer camps were delivered with 105 planned for 2016/17.
The Minister’s visited the EA Youth Service Larne camp held at Woodhall Outdoor Education Centre, Kilrea. While there, they met with over 20 young people from Larne and Carnlough who are taking part in the camp, the leaders and viewed some of the activities taking place which are helping the participants engage and build friendships with each other.
The Ministers also visited the Monkstown Boxing Club camp at Tollymore Forest Park, Newcastle. Through the sport of boxing and multi sport sessions this camp is affording 20 young boxers from Monkstown and Holy Trinity Boxing Clubs the opportunity to interact and form friendships.