Peace Line Youth Training Center Celebrates New Renovated Headquarters
A Peaceline-based youth learning group which helps hundreds of young people across Belfast has celebrated the launch of its newly refurbished centre.
Active Communities Network, based on Northumberland Street, helps around 80 young people each week with everything from education and employment advice to mental health and fitness support.
Starting 11 years ago in a port-a-cabin near Whiterock Road, he has grown over the years and has now opened his newly expanded and refurbished centre, where he hopes to help even more young people across the city.
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Active Communities Network focuses primarily on people aged 14-25 who have dropped out of mainstream education or are considered at risk.
Rachelle McCurry, who runs the project in Belfast, said: “We support around 300 young people from all parts of Belfast and help them get a good start in life.
“This can be done by helping them obtain professional qualifications, internships and training, helping them to acquire their essential skills and education, while allowing them to take charge of our various campaigns themselves in order to make a difference in their communities.
“As many of the young people we work with are vulnerable or considered at risk, we ensure that they are fully funded to attend our courses free of charge and we also ensure that they receive food, travel and childcare.
“Being based on the Peace Line, we are open to all communities in Belfast and we have people from North, South, East and West who come together for our classes and make connections that they might not have been able to create in other contexts.
“Our goal is to help these young people have a career to follow so that they are able to take charge of their own lives in the future.”
The new center has been funded by a £512,000 grant from the Government’s Leveling Fund, with the organization also recently receiving a Big Lottery Fund grant of £500,000 for three years of work in North and West Belfast.
Rachelle continued, “This newly renovated center will allow us to work even more with young people in the community and provide them with classrooms and areas where they can train and look after their physical well-being.”
Reece Coleman, 22, from Turf Lodge, is one of the young people using the Active Communities Network to acquire an SIA card to help him find a job while at university.
He said: “I’ve been coming here for about a month now to train for my SIA card so I can work for a company like G4S while I go to college.
“It would allow me to work somewhere with more flexible hours whilst taking my course and should hopefully be a huge benefit to me. There are also other courses available such as lifeguard training which I am taking. very interested in following.
“The course itself was really good, the staff are very helpful and informative, while the training itself is quite informal and laid back. You don’t feel like you’re under a lot of pressure while you’re doing the work that really helps.
“The one-on-one support you receive has been a big plus because you know you can ask your mentors if you have any issues and they will be on hand to help.
“It’s also great that there are people from all over Belfast here, so there’s a great mix of people from different backgrounds and you get to know people from all over the city.”
If you would like more information about Active Communities Network, please visit their website.
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