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Are you aged 8 – 19?

CONTENTS Meet Monsieur Bruno .........................................................................................................2 Steer Clear of Crime ............................................................................................................ 3 Putting the World to Rights .............................................................................................. 4 The Furure is in our Hands .................................................................................................6 Face your Prejudices ........................................................................................................... 8 Be Inspired by Beth .............................................................................................................10 A Problem Shared ................................................................................................................12 The Books that got me through the winter/Bebo Psychology.................................. 15 Homophobia whats that?...................................................................................................16 The World V Nicole Robin .................................................................................................. 19 Pic Parade ..............................................................................................................................20 Headliners Care ....................................................................................................................22 Voluntereering Changed our Lives ................................................................................. 23 Global Eye Fills the Void/Quotes ..................................................................................... 24

What are the issues that you are concerned about? Do you want to have your say? Come and learn the media skills that will put your views out there.


Or maybe you want to volunteer? Contact: Headliners Foyle New and o

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new bure au Tel: 028 7130 9397 And ask for: Malachy Kyle, Project Manager OR Audrey Martin, Journalist/Volunteer Coordinator Website: This project has been funded by the Department for Social Development under the Community Volunteer Scheme (CVS)

Sharmin Rahman (17) - CVS Volunteer My name is Sharmin and I’m almost 18. I first joined Headliners when I was just 13. Back then it was known as Children’s Express and the office was situated on the Strand Road. I am delighted to say I am still part of the furniture at our new fantastic bureau on Bishop Street which opened to many new members on October 1, 2009. Let’s just say I am a different person now than I was when I joined. I started off a relatively shy and quiet person. That soon changed when I got to know everyone and after that it seemed hard to keep me quiet! As a member back then, I was involved in a lot of projects such as ‘First Light’ and ‘Global Eye’ and they were both amazing experiences from which I have gained a lot. As well as this I was part of story teams and radio teams, and produced work for papers and local radio stations. As I continued to develop my skills I took an interest in

passing my knowledge to others and started facilitating workshops and programmes with the help of other young people within Headliners. Myself and a few other members then went to Brathay in The Lake District in order to develop our peer facilitation skills and I certainly learned a lot. Through this sort of work in Headliners I have become more confident and developed personally as well as developing my skills. I have been facilitating in Headliners for nearly two years. I also went through the Millennium Volunteers project with Headliners where I did more outreach and facilitation. I am proud to say I have now taken on the role of a CVS volunteer. This role has allowed me to become more active in my volunteering within Headliners. Being a part of Headliners has given me so many opportunities, I have been involved in so many amazing worthwhile projects which give young people a voice and allow us to be heard.

Recently I have been involved with the ‘When Cultures Meet’ project which was a photography and film project about ethnic minorities within the Northwest of Ireland. Not only did I learn a lot about other people in ethnic minorities around the Northwest but I also learned a lot about myself. I have gained so much from the project and now it’s great that I have the opportunity to give back to it. As a volunteer within Headliners I play more of a supporting role and assist the other young people as well as helping the staff. My fellow peer facilitators and I also continue to do facilitation within the project, whether it’s personal development workshops or workshops with a variety of people from across Derry who want to be involved. Looking back on my experiences I can honestly say that I am very proud to be part of a project which is so successful in making a difference in people’s lives. Headliners helps not only by getting young people’s voices heard but also by helping them develop personally. I know I have!

The CVS grant to promote volunteering has enabled Headliners in Foyle to develop in a number of ways to benefit individuals, local communities and those communities of interest experiencing disadvantage. Over the last three years of the CVS volunteering programme we have increased participation in community development contributing to new targeting social need. Our offer to young people by supporting them to be volunteers has been improved through having more young people’s engagement in developing our services and through giving young people a progression route beyond being a participant in our programmes. They become peer trainers, passing on the skills they have learned to other young people and they become advocates of volunteering and our programme. They also become volunteering role models encouraging other young people to volunteer. The volunteering programme has offered significant skill development for the

YOU HAVE YOUR SAY ON US….. “Headliners Foyle hit the headlines internally within the organisation providing and sharing good practice in relation to volunteer management. The organisation has succeeded in meeting the targets it has set and the Agency has been impressed with the quality of the material produced, for example, the Off The Walls magazines. Volunteer Development Agency (VDA)

young people enabling them to take on leadership roles, facilitating other young people and advocacy. This has given Headliners improved capacity to engage with other young people and support community development raising issues of concern and making change. It has also supported other young people’s development through the youth-led activities themselves – young people supporting young people to develop skills and make good choices in their lives. In addition, the adult volunteers have contributed to capacity building by supporting staff and young people in the project.

organisation at conferences and events etc. It is not just Headliners that has benefited from an increased profile, but the awareness and benefits of volunteering itself has been raised. We have been successful in securing further funding under the Millennium Volunteer programme 2009 to 2011 to offer volunteering opportunities to young people 16 to 25 years.

The programme has developed sustainability for the organisation through supporting young people and others who have been engaged with our programme to volunteer and give back to the organisation and their community.

The CVS volunteering project has enabled us not only to clearly identify the benefits volunteering in general can bring to Headliners as outlined above but also to demonstrate how dynamic volunteering can be in terms of developing the organisation and the personal and skill development of young people and volunteers themselves.

Sustainability has also come from the raised profile the project has given Headliners through the engagement with other young people in other organisations, through the production of Off the Walls magazine and through our volunteers having the confidence to act as spokespeople and advocates of the

“EverybodyOnline worked in partnership with Headliners and various other agencies to undertake the ‘I Matter’ project, challenging perceptions of disability across the city. It was a tremendous opportunity to be involved with Headliners who through this project, once again demonstrated why they are the best youth media project in the city. Karen Wilson, EverybodyOnline "Headliners staff and peer educators supported six young females from Off the Street Initiative in 2007 to highlight positive work they were involved with in their local

Malachy Kyle Project manager

community of Galliagh and Shantallow. The group did vox-pops and interviewed people on their perceptions of Galliagh. The work then featured in a double page spread in the Belfast Telegraph. Alison McDaid, Off the Streets Project Co-ordinator. “It is encouraging to see young people, our future generation, being responsible, engaging in a positive way to challenge and report issues which effect us all. Keep up the positive work challenging us.” Community Safety, 'G' District, PSNI.

Continued page 27 ...............................

By Cathail McDermott (17) and Ryan Pleijzier (16)

Interview by Seana Hampstead (14) and Nicole-Robin Doherty (14) Bruno can you tell us your name? “Bruno!?” What age are you? “I am 22.” Where are you from? “I am from Marseilles, in the south of France” How is Marseilles different to Derry? “Marseilles is next to the sea. It’s very, very grey. Here in Derry, there’s a lot of grass. It’s very green.” What did you study at University? “I studied to be a Technician.” Before volunteering in Headliners have you ever volunteered anywhere else? “No, never. This is the first time.” What made you want to volunteer with us? “It was for a new experience, but this is the first time I worked as a volunteer. It was very interesting for me.” What is your favourite thing about Headliners? “Maybe the first time I edited interviews. In France I worked with musicians.” Do you like working with musicians? “Yeah, lots. I worked with software to create variations with musicians. It’s a pleasure to work with musicians because it’s never the same thing. It’s never the same people and never the same music. It’s always very different.” Have you ever worked with young people before? “No, never. This is the first time.” What do you do at Headliners? “I edit the audio files of the interviews. I clean them up. Sometimes it may be difficult to understand what people are saying in interviews, so I correct the audio file to make it clearer.”

What has been the biggest challenge at Headliners? “The biggest challenge was correcting the audio files because I never did that whilst I worked with musicians. This type of work is very different.” How would you describe yourself? “I’m very quiet. I’m very focused on work. I’ve got dark blue eyes.

If you could work anywhere in the world, where would it be and what would you do? “I hope to travel all around the world so if I can do that, I’d go to Australia, Germany and Russia. I’d go to the United States too, why not?” Would you encourage people to volunteer with Headliners? “Yes, it’s a very good experience.”

Who is your idol? “Well I love music in various different styles. My favourite would be people that work with drums or brass.”

Caramel or toffee? “Caramel. I’ve always liked sugary things. I’ve always had a sweet tooth.”

What’s your favourite colour? “Red.”

What’s your biggest goal in life? “To be a very good engineer.”

What food have you tried in Ireland that you’ve never had before? “That’s a good question! In France I ate the same foods as I do here but I’d never tried fish and chips. When I was at school, my teacher said it wasn’t very nice. So I was curious to try it for myself and I liked it very much.

What’s your biggest fear? “Maybe death. Humans destroying the world by the factories, by wrecking the forests through all the human districts of the world.”

Have you got any favourite Irish foods? “Not really because I ate the same in France.” Have you learnt any typical Derry sayings? “People say a lot of words like ‘Jesus Christ’ and ‘God’. Children say a lot of things I cannot repeat because they’re not good words.” “If you had one wish, what would it be?” “To travel around the world and work with various organisations, like a big record studio maybe. I would buy a lot of microphones and recording equipment.” Do young people get good or bad media press in France?” “I think that there are the same major problems here and in France. Through Europe and the UK the press young people get is not very good.” Do you think that an organisation like Headliners is important for young people in every country? “Yeah, sure. It’s a good thing for all young people to have a way of expressing themselves.”

What do you like about Ireland? “Ireland is a very beautiful country. Derry is a little town and I don’t like big towns because they’re crazy. When I was in Paris three years ago it was crazy! I’ve seen the crazy citizens and the giant skyscrapers. All small towns are very beautiful. It’s very green too.” What do you dislike about Ireland? “The weather.” What has been the biggest highlight about working with Headliners? “Discovering another job. In France I worked alone but here I work with other people in a magazine.” As a volunteer, what skills do you wish to pass on? “I hope that I can teach you how to manage audio files like I have learnt when I’ve been here. When you go back to Marseilles, would you think about a new career based on what you’ve done here? “I don’t see why not, if I can find a job like here in Headliners. If I could work again as a volunteer I would.”

Headliners volunteers urge young drivers to act responsibly . Could the cost of learning to drive be in danger of steering young people into crime? PSNI statistics show that drivers aged 17 25 make up a disproportionate percentage of those killed and seriously injured on our roads. Too many young drivers put themselves and others at risk by breaking speed limits, taking as few driving lessons as possible and driving without insurance. They would rather break the law than break the bank. This is a reality that Headliners wants to turnaround. By urging capable young drivers reading this article to make a conscious effort to drive safely and legally these statistics and the cost of car insurance for young people could decrease. It is a catch 22 situation that many young people find themselves in. The insurance is too expensive so they drive without it then they have an accident or get caught and have to pay the price. At Headliners we want to get the message across to young drivers to drive safely and legally even if it does mean being broke. One young person said: “There are a few who have crashed their cars in my class. It was their parents’ car and they ended up in a ditch, they were driving without insurance. One of the people’s fathers put them in home school and didn’t let them out at all.” Many teenagers are beginning to learn to drive as early as possible because they want independence. Driving gives them the freedom to be able to go where they want to go when they want to go without having to worry about whether

they have a lift. It also means they can get where they need to go if something goes wrong or even if they just want to go out with friends and they don’t want to have to rely on parents or public transport. Learning to drive will affect someone for the rest of their lives. It can benefit them to be able to drive to school, work or even go on holiday in their own car. “Even though they have this freedom it doesn’t mean that they are responsible,” explained Ross Damijo, 17 who said, ”I don’t think young people really have the same sort of experience and don’t act as responsibly as older drivers.” Many teenagers are unable to pay for driving lessons and many don’t qualify for Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA). So they feel obliged to get a job rather than pressure their parents for money for lessons. Paying for their provisional licence or maintaining the car when they get it costs money. Even after you pass your test, there is still insurance, tax and petrol to pay for. When a young person gets a part time job to pay for all this it can also eat into their free hours for study and hobbies. Even with the advances in car safety, it still isn’t the safest activity in the world. Some teenagers don’t feel that it’s necessary to take lots of lessons or have insurance when driving. This may encourage reckless driving or even joyriding because they’re so desperate to get behind the wheel.

Safety Education Officer for PSNI, G district, said: “Young drivers are a particular focus as they tend to be involved in more collisions. Contributing factors to fatal and serious injury collisions include excess speed, inattention, the influence of drink or drugs, and, of course, inexperience. “Before any drivers get behind the wheel of a car, they must have the appropriate documentation. This includes valid insurance, driving licence, tax and if necessary, an MOT certificate. Provisional licence holders must display ‘L’ plates front and rear. They must be accompanied by a full licence holder who is over the age of 21 and has held a full licence for at least two years. “Further conditions apply to restricted drivers, who must display ‘R’ plates front and rear and cannot exceed 5mph. “Starting out on a motoring career is an exciting time for any young person. It does, however, bring responsibilities. Getting things right at the start can lead to a long, rewarding and trouble-free driving experience. “I am always keen to encourage drivers of any age to drive responsibly. The motoring laws exist to deter and detect those who do not accept their responsibilities. Those who contravene the motoring laws can expect to face fixed penalties, fines or even disqualification.”

One of the young people who we told about 17-25 year olds causing the most accidents wasn’t shocked. Barry O’ Donnell, 17, said, “I’m not surprised at all. People are interested in bad press about young people and it is a well known fact that young people have more car accidents.” It really is better being safe than sorry even if it means spending a pound or two. Your life as a young person is invaluable. Don’t waste it by cutting corners. Constable Stuart Crutchley, the Road

Headliners volunteer Caithal McDermott talks to young people about driving.


Two girls display their expression of the importance of family and home

Greenhaw School friends created a collage showing their interest in sport Delighted Foyleview pupil holds up her artwork

By CVS Volunteer Yvonne Lyttle (27)

Ryan loved cutting shapes with the bright paper

“All children should have computers and a bike, dinner and a coat. They should feel nice and cosy. They should get homework at school and should have fun.”

innovative approaches to increase the diversity and number of volunteers

Faustina O’Hagan (14), Volunteer, Foyleview School

A recent Headliners outreach project saw volunteers from two schools unite their creative talents to explore children’s rights through art and media.

Here are some of the things they said over the six weeks together: “My picture showed that I have a right to be me.”

A group of 12 young volunteers with disabilities from Foyleview School met with 10 volunteers with learning needs from Greenhaw Primary School under the guidance of artist, Brian Jones from Wales, Jaci Wilde, Cresco Trust and Headliners volunteer Yvonne Lyttle and journalist Audrey Martin. Despite never having met each other before, the children quickly bonded over creativity with paints, newspapers, magazine cut-outs and glue. Headliner volunteers also interviewed and filmed the children throughout the project.

“I liked the computer work. I made a new friend called Josh. One of my pictures was of Josh.” “All children have a right to have a house.” “I like playing on the computer. That makes me happy. “I don’t get sad. I’m happy all the time.” “We are going on the computer today”. “We worked with words like explore and family”.


They made friends without the need for much conversation. It was a look of support here, a helpful hand there that spoke volumes as the students expressed themselves in relaxed workshops. The levels of understanding and ability were extremely varied within the group and yet all pupils contributed somehow and together produced amazing pieces of work. Various themes emerged as the weeks passed. The pictures produced focussed on every child’s right to have a family, a healthy environment, love, adventure, a home, warmth and an education. The final two sessions of the project saw the children digitally manipulating their artwork on the computer to take their efforts to a new level of creativity. ‘Fantastic’, ‘fresh’ and ‘inspirational’ were some of the words used to describe the artwork by those who came to see the display at the Void art gallery. As well as larger prints, the facilitating artist Brian created postage stamps of the children’s art work and then posted each child a first edition envelope with the stamp featuring their artwork on it. Each

and every child’s work was showcased in this project and parents, funders and friends were overwhelmed with the display pieces. Jamie and Hannah, both aged 10, from Greenhaw were delighted to talk to the camera at the exhibition launch. “Giving us equal rights is what you can do. Sometimes I feel like we are not listened to but we were listened to during this project. I hope that from this project people that don’t have a home will have a home.” Jaci Wilde, Stravaganza Project Director said: “I believe everyone is an artist – everyone. They don’t always have the opportunity though and I love creating opportunities for people to be artists. “I love to bring the work of people on the margins of society to an audience and to raise their perceptions and their awareness. I like for the participants to feel proud and their families to feel proud. “Each child will be able to point at the finished pieces and say it’s their bit. Even those who were only involved for half an hour have their work included.”

“One of the loveliest things was that two girls from Greenhaw who were wary of working with Faustina from Foyleview ended up doing a drawing of themselves with Faustina at the centre of their group and on the back of the piece it said, ‘To Faustina, our very best friend.’ I have pictures of all the children hugging each other. After such a short time together they didn’t feel different to each other anymore.” Foyleview pupil Adam’s mum Angela Porter said, “I hope this will achieve more recognition for children with special needs and point out the things they can do and that they should be doing.” Ryan’s mum Michelle added: “It’s fantastic and has been great for Ryan. Able-bodied and special needs children coming together is just so important.” Bronagh Whittaker, Arts and Business said: “It’s really impressive. They look like professional pieces of art you would find in a gallery. I think it’s important that children can use art to express what they are feeling internally. Money well spent!”


Volunteers have their say By Aine Cronin-McCartney (16)

A selection of 10 Headliners volunteers had the unique opportunity to voice their opinion on the future of their city to politicians and decision makers at a recent conference organised by ILEX.

A futuristic Jack during the 'Derry in 2009' role-play at the Future Search conference

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness gets into the spirit.

Headliners volunteer gives feedback for his group at the Future Search conference.

Headliners volunteers pictured with Sandra Janoff at the Future Search conference.

Jack interviews MLA Mark Durkan.

Serena taking part in a roleplay at the Future Search Conference.

stakeholder groups. I thought that we, the young people, were listened to and that we took an active part in our individual groups.

Kane Caesar (16)

Jack Thompson (17)

When I first heard about the Future Search conference I thought that it was a very worthwhile process that I wished to become involved in. After extensive preparation work leading up to the conference itself I believed that all involved were ready to undertake the responsibility and effectively represent the voices of young people of the region. Upon attending I was blown away by the turnout at the event and the types of people that got involved. I was filled with a firm hope for the future because so many different types of people were so committed to carrying out the numerous objectives set forth during the conference. I left the conference with that same hope for the future and was extremely glad to have met all the individuals that had attended, who otherwise I would not have got the chance to associate with. All in all, I was extremely pleased with the Future Search process, especially with how our views as young people, usually so dismissed, were taken into account so readily. I look forward with optimism to what I believe will be a better future now that such dedicated people are working to improve all aspects of society that were discussed at the conference.

Before the conference I went to several meetings about Future Search and was unsure as to whether or not I’d go to the conference. Then the good news came and I discovered that I had been chosen to go. To be honest, I had no idea what to expect from this conference. My first thoughts were that of a dismal, dreary, lifeless room overflowing with speech filled people where I’d have to force my opinion to be heard. I really did expect this to be a long three-day experience, a battle for my opinion. But I couldn’t have been any more wrong. As soon as I entered the room I saw that it was brightly lit, colourful and full of happy, excited people. During the conference I was constantly asked, “So Jack, what do you think?” and when I said something they responded with, “Yeah that’s a great idea!” During the conference I wasn’t patronized and I think that those 3 days were just a bit too short for me. I really can’t express in writing the euphoria I felt at the end of the conference. Future Search helped me voice young people’s opinions and I believe now that I and the other young people have made an impact on adults which they will never forget.”

Young people joined with others from the world of politics, education, business, community arts and culture to give their views. Working through the Future Search three-day workshop initiative led by Sandra Janoff, I, with nine other Headliners members from Derry, discussed my personal opinion of the past, present and future of the North West Region.

New approaches to the involvement of volunteers in the work of your organisation enhancing delivery of activities/services

Future Search organisers ILEX challenged young people' to share their vision for their society in 20 years time (2029). Combined with the resources, expertise and formal authority figures involved in the project, they worked to improve societies for the better. And acknowledge the young people they did! In interviews with other stakeholders the impact we young people had on their personal experience at the conference was an extremely positive and refreshing one. Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said “I think it’s absolutely fantastic that young people participated in this conference. When I was Minister of Education and we were conducting our own business into the whole issue of the 11 plus and attitudes and opinions on it, I placed a particular emphasis on gaining the views of young people regarding the 11 plus. That was very much part of my thinking when I took a decision to abolish it. It’s quite clear from this conference today that all the major players in this city recognise the importance of hearing the voices of young people if we are to plan for the future. We are planning for those young people’s future so they need to have a say in it. When I mentioned that as part of my speech everyone agreed with me and applauded, so you have made your mark!”


Derry MP and Leader of SDLP Mark Durkan said: “The young people are very clear about some of their ideas, very clear about issues that are there. The fact that there aren’t the channels and spaces and choices for young people in our city that there should be has come across. Young people are very good at challenging a lot of the jargon that is used. In the media it is always the problems of young people and not the problems for young people that gets the coverage. I think the big take-away that everyone has from this is just how positive so many young people in our city are and we don’t give it enough notice and enough reinforcement. “I think we’re at a stage now where rather than banging on and on and on at young people and rather than patronising them on the one hand and ghettoising them on the other, it’s time to actually empower our young people and say, “2029 is 20 years away, you’re going to be the people who will be trying to hold down the jobs, you’re going to be the people who will be taking forward leadership and government and in business and in everything else,m so you should be part of shaping that now rather than then.” The aim of the conference was to begin uniting our society, to approach all causes of segregation within our communities by addressing racism surrounding ethnic minorities, stereotyping, sectarianism and

all other forms of discrimination. I was privileged to be a part of this conference, and to be given the opportunity to represent the young people of our society by speaking on their behalf. It was clear that everyone was keen to get involved and offer suggestion. It was very encouraging to see so many people take this amount of interest in our future and realise that we can build the pathway to a better life in our city for the coming generations. Here is feedback from the conference from other Headliners volunteers: Nathan Donnell (17) Before going to the Future Search conference I wondered how the weekend would go and whether I was going to get anything out of it. It definitely met all of my expectations. The workshops we did were helpful in planning out the future of Derry City. It was really interesting to listen to the opinions of the different members of the stakeholder groups and I was quite interested in listening to the existing plans in place for Derry. During the conference I thought that the young people there wouldn’t be paid much attention and that our opinions wouldn’t be valued, but the people there really were interested in what we had to say. In our groups we were integrated with different members from different

Thomas Thompson (17) “When I first heard about the conference it sounded like a great way to change our city, a city in which the young people of today have an opinion. A city where young people could have a say in what it should look like and how it should be run. I was also nervous about the conference. I thought that although I had an opinion to share, I wouldn’t be heard or listened to. “The conference was not what I expected. It wasn’t filled with boring meetings, instead it involved group work and fun exercises. The other members of my group were very glad to hear my ideas, especially in exercises which asked us how we would imagine Derry to be in 2029. “After the conference, I was very optimistic about the future. At the start, the city I wanted seemed so unreal and unachievable. But after all these different groups from different areas of the city came together and all our ideas were listed into a number of targets, it seemed like our city that we all wanted could be achieved.”


away the challenge of, “What can my generation do for the future to improve our society?” Saorla explains: “I have become more aware of the world around me, and the controversy that needs to be overcome.”

The conference included presentations from all 13 schools who had taken part in a schools project looking at homophobia, sectarianism and racial discrimination.

with my mother and my two sisters and I saw some people getting killed in the Bogside. That put some thoughts in my head. The environment in the area I was living in made me run into members of the UDR and the army and that sort of kicked things off. N:Sectarianism was rife in the early 1970s. I noticed people were being slaughtered just because of their religion and I thought I would join the security forces. S:Do you have any regrets?

The Interview

by Grace McGowan(14) and Saorla Boyle (16)

Headli n at the ers volunte er ‘Prejud ice - Fa s with Mayo ro ce On’ confer f Derry, Ge rard D ence. iver,

“When we were asked to participate in an interview which would be played in front of 300 school pupils from 13 schools across Derry we were nervous and excited,” says Headliners volunteer Grace McGowan

S:Hello, could you tell us you names? D:My name is Don Brown. N:My name is Nigel Gardiner. G:Could you tell us where you are from? D:I’m from Derry, a place called Woodbrook.

Increase volunteer activity by groups under-represented in the volunteering population, including people not in paid work

N:I’m from the Waterside area of Londonderry-Derry. I live on Irish Street.

As part of Derry City Council’s Prejudice Face-On conference Headliners volunteers were asked to interview two men who had been involved in the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) and the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) during The Troubles. This interview with Don Brown and Nigel Gardiner was played at the conference to pupils from 13 schools who also gave group presentations on homophobia, racism and sectarianism. Grace reflects: “When I was told the interview would be with two excombatants I was very wary and wanted to know if the two men knew each other. “As it turns out they were actually friends. I felt really comfortable when I met them and knew the interview would go well. “We asked Don and Nigel questions about their past and their role in the Troubles. The feedback we received was both extraordinary and emotional. “Don was a member of the INLA and consequently spent quite a few years in jail. He explained how he regretted this


because of all the things he missed while he was away. Things such as his childrens’ first communions. Nigel was a member of the UDR and told us about his experiences and his part in the Troubles. “When asked what they thought the role of young people would be in the future of Northern Ireland they both agreed that young people had a massive part to play in shaping our future society. “We asked them what advice they would give to young people in our society today and their answers were inspirational. They told us they believed a good, solid education was the key and that alcohol, drugs and gangs should be avoided at all costs. Sound advice! “I learned a lot from the interview and I feel I have a more in-depth understanding of the history of my city. I also feel that I am a step closer to understanding why people did everything they did. I thoroughly enjoyed it and it reinforced my new-found interest in local history.

have never been very involved in political matters. “I didn’t have a particularly good knowledge of the subject but this interview gave me an insight to the topics that really matter in our society today, and made me think about future involvement in such matters. “As soon as I began to talk to them, countless questions sprung to mind, and I realised I had a keen interest in the subject. From this interview, I witnessed immense maturity and respect between our interviewees. They had come to understand that, although they may not have supported each other’s previous lifestyles , they maintained a level of respect for each other’s beliefs, and in doing so, they could put the past behind them and move on. These two men were inspiring, and from the interview, I took

D:Okay, well, before going to prison, I was a father of three and married, living in the Glen Estate in Derry. I was unemployed at the time, but now, I am a full time yoga teacher working in peace and reconciliation. N:Coming from a working-class background I started my early working career in a shirt factory called Hog and Mitchell’s and then became involved in community work in 2003. G:What was your involvement in the Troubles? D:Well I was a member of a group called the INLA which is the Irish National Liberation Army. It was basically a break away from the IRA and I was involved in it over a period of years. N:I saw Northern Ireland going down the road to anarchy and civil war. I, like everyone else, could easily have got pushed into joining paramilitary groups. I decided not to and I joined the Ulster Defence Regiment in 1971.

“ At the end of the interview there was complete silence in the conference room.” Saorla (16) describes her experience: “Recently, I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to interview two men from very different backgrounds. It was an interesting experience as I had never done anything like it before, and I

S:Can you tell me a little bit about the person you used to be and the person you are now?

Pupils fill out Headliners surveys and take a look at the Off The Walls magazines at the conference.

What were your reasons for grtting involved? D:Well one of the main reasons was that I was actually there on Bloody Sunday,

D:Oh I have tonnes of regrets. I regret that a friend of Nigels died because of what I believed in. Mostly I regret the personal things like; missing my kids and not getting to see them going to school or see them making their First Holy Communions and things like that. Eventually my marriage broke-up too. N:I don’t have any regrets. If there is any regret, it is really one from a political aspect. The government at the time and politicians in general could have done more to help bring groups together around a table and discuss peace. G:What would you say to a young person tempted to go down a similar route as yours today? N:Well when we look at the anti-social behavior that we have in our own society; alcohol abuse, drug abuse, gambling addictions, I would ask: “Do the young people want an alternative to hanging around street corners drinking and becoming involved in criminality?” As a former member of the security forces I would say: “Join the Army, the Air Force or the Navy, see the world, and get a trade!” D:Well I would just say something similar to Nigel but really I ask young people to consider what they’re doing. Go and see some different parts of the world before you make the decision of surrendering your life to something.

N:I have to echo Don’s words. You are the future of tomorrow and the future of society and the like of our generation would probably look up to you for guidance as your generation is today looking to us for guidance. G:What advice would you give to young people growing up in Derry and the Northwest? N:There are a couple of aspects to that. One is get a good, sound firm education. Avoid becoming involved in the gangs and stay clear of drugs, alcohol, gambling. Ask yourself: “Where do I want to go in life? What do I as an individual want from life?” As an individual, it is your own decision really what way you want to go. D:I would just add to that by asking any young person to really challenge drug abuse and alcohol abuse and to challenge peer pressure. Think for yourself. G:Do you think that young people understand what you are saying about the firm education and staying away from drugs and things? N:The majority of young people do understand. It’s the other percentage that we as community representatives, find it very hard to engage with because they don’t see any avenue out of the rut that they are in. They are stigmatised within their own communities. These are the people we have to reach out to. It is quite easy for Don and myself and other people to walk away, but the question is, who are we letting down if we decide to walk away? D:I would try and improve the living environment so young people wouldn’t be deprived of food and education, especially at this time of recession. Drink and drugs don’t solve any problems.

S: What do you think the role of young people is in the future of Northern Ireland? D:Well, you are the young people who are going to rule this country at some stage and make the decisions for it. I hope that you make better decisions than I did at 17 and 18 and I wish you well in any journey that you are going to take. Really think about what you are doing.

Headliners volunteer Nicole-Robin collects surveys during the school presentations at the conference.


by Markus Pleijzier (13)

Headliners volunteer Markus laments the lack of inspirational stories about young people in the news You are 1-years-old and you come across a serious accident. Would YOU know what to do? Beth Mc Cafferty did. Her story involved helping a man who nearly lost his life in a road accident. And did Beth’s brave and inspirational story make the headlines?…no it didn’t. That’s why Headliners is here – to get stories like Beth’s out there.

innovative approaches to increase the diversity and number of volunteers

If you asked random youths about their opinion of the media’s view of young people it would most likely be negative, but why? Is it because the news only reports disapproving stories about adolescents? But what about worthwhile young people’s organisations? Do they get very little coverage because what they do is not considered hard news? The media covers so many depressing reports about ‘yobs’‘hoodies’ and ‘pests,’ is it any wonder so many young people end up getting into trouble when they are branded as trouble-makers anyway? Maybe there are actually young people out there who think the only way to get acknowledged is to create havoc in their community? Could these same young people be craving attention, but know that doing something worthwhile and inspirational just wouldn’t cut it? In a nationwide Headliners research project into how the media portrays young people it was discovered that there is much more bad press about young people than good. Newspapers do not run enough stories


about young heroes that don’t spend their time hanging around street corners, fighting, drinking or taking drugs. Maybe if newspapers told stories of courage, achievement and selflessness more young people would read papers. Communities would benefit because young people would feel appreciated and inspired rather than patronised and invisible.

Beth’s Story Beth has been involved in St. John Ambulance since she was around 11 years old. In her role in St. John’s she is a cadet who learns how to apply different types of first aid. They do all they can until emergency services arrive and attend events such as; concerts, Halloween night, turning on the Christmas lights etc., where large number of people attend. Every year there is an inspection and a competition where cadets compete in their knowledge of methods of applying first aid. Beth was involved with a serious car and motorbike accident. It took place in Derry. The car had crashed into a motorbike and Beth’s first reaction was “Are they dead or alive?” The sight of the accident shocked Beth for a few minutes but she knew right away what to do. The people were completely co-operative with her and recognised that she knew what she was doing. “I guess I was just in the right place at the right time.,” she said.

badly shook up and it was him who called the emergency services. I remember introducing myself and I think he said ‘help me please’. I remember kneeling down beside him, it was raining and dark so it was really hard to see. I put him in the recovery position and kept talking to him.” “A crowd started to gather. The casualty was able to tell me what had happened and I was able to see where he was hurt.” The emergency services took 10-15 minutes, first the doctor, second the police and then the ambulance. Beth applied basic first aid which made a huge difference to the injured person’s survival.

John Ambulance we took her story to the streets to inspire other young people. Only a few knew about St. John Ambulance and most of them have never had first aid training but nearly all of those interviewed would want to help in some way if they came across an accident. There wasn’t a selfish ‘yob’ or ‘hoodie’ among them!

Carl (15)

Christen (15)

1. No

1. No

2. Yes, phone an ambulance.

2. No

3. Yes, at cadets. Maybe, because I am a nice person.

. No

We asked:

Christopher (14)

Gemma (15)

1. Do you know what St. John Ambulance is and what it involves?

1. It involves helping people who have been sick or injured on the streets and they give them medical attention and bring them to the hospital.

Beth’s story makes me proud to be her friend. That night she felt immense satisfaction about helping in the accident. She received many thanks from people at the scene and from friends and family afterwards.

2. Would you know what to do in a serious car accident?

If only her story had made the newspaper it could have influenced so many other young people.

4. Would you ever consider joining St. John Ambulance? If yes: Why?

These are Beth’s thoughts on young people who have made a difference but who don’t have a chance to share their story. We asked: Do you feel that more young people like yourself should get to tell their story in the media?

This is how she described the accident; “It was serious enough, it was a motorbike accident! I remember a really big bang then a big flash, my friend squealed and I looked down the road and saw the motorbike flying down the road with noone on it, it was then I knew something was wrong.

“Yes, I think they've had a really good achievement or have done something really good then I don’t see why they shouldn’t tell others about it. It’s not like I revived the man or anything. I really just reassured him, calmed him down and helped him get comfortable until the ambulance arrived but I know it made a difference.”

“When I got down there the man was lying there and there was a car in the middle of the road. The driver was really

Even though this magazine will raise awareness of Beth and the work of St.

3. Have you ever had first aid training?

Aisling (15) 1. It’s a thing for people to go and get first aid training so they know how to help if they see an accident or someone getting hurt. 2. Ring an ambulance and do what you can to help. 3. Yes.

3. No

2. First of all check if the person is breathing, ring an ambulance and put them in the recovery position. 3. I had it twice in school, once in primary school and then in secondary.

1. No. 2. Ring an ambulance 3. No . Aye, cause it sounds like good craic.

Jessica (14) 1. People helping people. 2. No.

. I would consider it, because I’d like to help people who are injured or if they need any medical help and I like the satisfaction of helping people.

3. No. . Maybe. i wouldn’t rule it out.

Dearbhla (15)

Justin (14)

1. No.

1. No.

2. Ring the ambulance.

2. Run away.

3. No.

3. In primary school I did.

. Aye, it sounds fun and my friend does it.

. No , because I’m lazy and I don’t like joining things.

4. I am already a member and I really like it.


cognitive therapy I was promised. I then spent a week not sleeping, full of manic joy and euphoria which ended in me nearly drowning in the Creggan reservoir.

By Jessie Browne (13) and Caitlin O’Hagan (13) Depression runs deep in many young people in the Northwest say experts

1 in 5 young people suffer from depression in Northern Ireland and what’s worse is that many more are suffering in silence. This was one of the terrible facts that Judy Colhoun from Aware Defeat Depression presented to Headliners volunteers.

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Some depressed young people are not coming forward for support, nor are they talking to anyone about their illness. And when we talked to young people about depression it was obvious that the majority still don’t consider it to be a real or ‘normal’ illness among young people. When asked, ‘What does the word depression mean to you?’ the majority of young people said ‘sadness.’ One person said ‘suicide’ while Saorla (1) said, ‘slitting wrists and all.’ Most young people do not realise the relevance of the illness or how many young people are actually suffering. Richie (16) was the only young person interviewed who had experienced depression. He said: “I suffered from depression really really bad a couple of years ago. It was just a really bad time in my life. It’s a time in my life I want to forget about now.” The fact that Richie took a huge step by saying he was depressed is good but his reluctance to talk about it is very sad. Did he suffer in silence? For how long? Did he get support?


These will remain unanswered questions as Richie doesn’t want to talk about it. Young people are more likely to see mental illness as something to mock, with friends jokingly calling each other ‘nutters’ and ‘loopers’. These labels add to the embarrassment and stop young people from coming forward for help. Everyone interviewed said that if their friend was depressed they would want to help them but to help them the friend would need to be brave enough to tell them in the first place. All the young people spoken to knew of many reasons why people become depressed. Malla (14) and Neave (13) listed; ‘Something to do with the family, schoolwork or relationships,” as reasons for depression. Emma (14) thought that ‘not fitting in with your friends,’ would be a factor that would go towards becoming depressed. Shauna was the only one who couldn’t think of any reasons to be depressed. Kyle (14) said that if his friend was depressed he would feel ‘disappointed and would want to help.’ Having spoken to Judy at Aware Defeat Depression the sad reality could be that Kyle’s friend would not be brave enough to speak to him about his depression or he may not even know that he was depressed. Organisations like Aware Defeat Depression are doing great work in schools but they realise there is a long way to go before the silent sufferers come forward for help.

They know that as awareness increases, the official number of young people with depression in Northern Ireland will rise as more young people will come forward for support.

“That night after taking two aspirin for a headache I hallucinated thinking the wall paper was alive, a memory from Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’. My mother thought I was on drugs, my family thought I was insane. All the while I knew it wasn’t my fault. Now two-and-a-half years later I still haven’t received the help I need. I’m waiting for my second mental health assessment which is reassuring. “Through all this I’ve maintained my GCSE’s and stayed in school. If all goes to plan I’ll be jetting off to London to study Journalism and Creative Writing. Sometimes I feel a bit like Sylvia Plath, thankfully psychiatric medicine has moved on from institutions and electric shock therapy, my Bell Jar isn’t half as big as hers was.

Shannon (13) and Saorla (14) couldn’t believe their ears when they heard that 20 per cent of young people suffer from depression. Shannon was ‘sad and shocked’ while Saorla said: “I think it’s terrible. I think no one should be suffering from depression.”

“Plus I know no one in their right mind would perform a lobotomy on me, it would be an awful waste, and the world would be left a lot duller without me. “There’s always hope at the end of that long tunnel.”

Whilst in an ideal world no one would suffer from depression, the reality is that more than 1 in 5 are.

Interview with Aware Defeat Depression, Derry

The only ideal we can strive for is that everyone who is depressed gets help and breaks their silence.

Could you tell me your name and job title?

Case study Written by an 18-year old girl from Derry who does not wish to be named. “Waking up every morning and knowing there is something wrong, that there has always been something wrong with you is painful. One gets up anyway and experiences the melancholy highs and lows of life like any other teenager. Then you feel it creeping up on you like a shark. There you are immersed in a world of sleepless nights and twilight days. “In one doctor’s appointment I was an ‘anxious and nervous person’, the next appointment I was ‘depressed’, all the while I knew it wasn’t just that. I knew it wasn’t normal to sing all day, even when teachers asked you an answer, or feel the urge to stick a knife in the toaster because some idiot gave you one evil glare of an eye. I never received the

My name is Judy Colhoun, Director of Quality and Development at Aware Defeat Depression in Derry. Do you feel young people are fairly portrayed in the media? I’m a great supporter of young people and I don’t think they are fairly treated in the media. I have so many examples of when young people have really come through for their peers and their friends when they’ve needed support or been in distress. I think there’s way too much generalising done regarding young people. How many young people in Derry suffered from depression in 2008? I probably can’t give you a local statistic. They are not available at that breakdown but generally 1 in 5 young people suffer from depression at any one time in Northern Ireland.

Are the numbers of young people that suffer from depression in Derry higher or lower than those in Belfast? I couldn’t tell you for sure, but we certainly know that the number of suicides was highest in North and West Belfast and also in Banbridge a few years back. Those figures may be on the increase again and we know that in terms of young people approximately 70 per cent of them have depression as a factor in their suicide. So you can see the link and you can see how common it is. In your experience what are the most common reasons for young people in the area becoming depressed? Low self esteem plays a big part. Some information from Mental Health Foundation shows that for the 1 in 5 people, for over half of these people the problem started in childhood. It can be hereditary, but that doesn’t mean that if a parent suffers from depression that they will definitely suffer from it too, but there is a higher risk. Also if there is a history of alcoholism in the family it can have a knock on effect. Life experiences and events play a large part. That can be anything from something as extreme as abuse or from being teased a lot. The big factor is not what happened or how major it was, it’s how you dealt with it and coped with it and how you think about it. Is there a difference in the amount of girls with the problem than boys? The figures would suggest across the whole age group that women are more likely to have depression than men and there are various reasons for that. Women have all the hormonal changes that they go through and child birth as well. Also we have to bear in mind that sometimes men are reluctant to talk about it and get help so those numbers can be a bit skewed. Are you concerned that young men in Derry are too embarrassed to come forward and get help? Yes, I am very concerned. What we discovered when we did an evaluation in schools with young people over a period of six months after they did work and learnt about what they would do if they thought they were depressed was that they were more likely to talk to friends or family rather than a doctor or a teacher. These people were actually very low down on the list. When it came to actually talking about it, some of them were very reluctant. So we have had to

try to build into a programme a way to persuade young people to talk about it, to think about who they might talk to, to think about what might be stopping them from doing it and to come forward and do it. Luckily, we are beginning to see a change. Someone wrote in feedback after the programme that as a result they are going to talk more to their Dad. When I read that I just thought ‘Yes!’ Have numbers of young people suffering from depression increased or decreased over the past few years? They have increased, unfortunately, and I think they probably still are increasing. In terms of whether it’s Derry or the rest of Northern Ireland I don’t know, but here in Northern Ireland we do have the highest incidence of depression compared to the rest of the UK. It could be for a variety of reasons, but it is an illness that’s increasing. Do you think that depression is still a silent illness due to the stigma attached to it? Yes, in a word. Hopefully we are getting there and people are coming out and talking about it a lot more openly. There is a stigma in our own society attached to mental illnesses. Look at some of the words we use to communicate about mental illness; loopers, psychos, nutters. We use it in our everyday language. We use it when we are not even talking about someone who is mentally ill. For someone who thinks they might have a problem they think they might have to go to a mental home or a psychiatric hospital because of the stigma attached. It’s going to put a barrier between them getting help because of these labels. The stigma does stop an awful lot of people from seeking help or talking about it. And we have to change that, big-time. I have found from working with young people a lot of young people come to talk to me. Sometimes that is enough for that young person because they have got their feelings out there and they feel they are validated. That can be enough to help them accept that what is happening to them is normal.


What is the youngest age group/individual you have worked with? A few years back I worked with a young boy who was 12 or 13. He was having suicidal thoughts. He wasn’t actually in our talk but he saw the booklet we provided. His father was a teacher in the school we worked in and he went to his father and said, “I have all the signs and I think I might be depressed.” I spoke to him the next time I was in the school. His father was then going to make an appointment with his doctor. He was the youngest I have come across. I am also going to tell you that two of my children had depression when they were 17 and 18. My daughter went through a really anxious crying period when she was 10 or 11. At the time I wasn’t working here and didn’t have a lot of information about depression. I thought that if she was an adult, I would say she was depressed. It never crossed my mind that she could be depressed at that age. Can you share a story with us about a young person who has come through depression and is coping much better with life today? My daughter is coping much better today. I have also suffered from depression so it could be hereditary in my family, but there were other factors as well like she was living with depression in the home. And that’s difficult for a young person. She was about 17 when I was coming through a very difficult depression and although I was talking to her about it and the help I was getting at that stage and how I could see light at the end of the tunnel, she was worrying about me a lot more than I realised and not asking me the questions she wanted to and she wasn’t getting the answers. So about four or five months before final exams at school she was so tearful and anxious and her concentration was dropping I thought I should maybe take her to the doctor and she was indeed diagnosed with depression. Although under 18s generally don’t respond well to anti-depressants she ended up getting them and they worked. She got talking therapy, a couple of months of cognitive therapy and that really helped her. She did her exams and did as well as she could. It was difficult for her. She was under extreme anxiety and stress. She had to go for a lower college course than she would have initially because she was so unwell. About two weeks before her exams she had got to the stage where she was suicidal. I had only started working here and I was able to ask, “what


am I going to do here?” Here they told me I was going to have to go and ask her what she had been thinking. At this point she was given medication, it was added in with the cognitive therapy. Within six weeks of that she definitely improved. She enjoyed a family holiday, went to college in Limavady and did a sports diploma. She lived away from home, had a part-time job and she was able to get through that couple of years. She then went to Australia for 11 months and travelled round and had a lot of fun made enough money for a few weeks to have some more fun. She then went to Enniskillen to do a degree in Equine Studies and is now working in an equine store in County Meath, has her own horse and is an amateur jockey. I’m not saying it was all plain-sailing from there, there were moments of relapse. Sometimes she went off her medication too quickly or times of stress like exams could trigger another episode but there hasn’t been another one for a few years and she is very aware of herself now. I think that is a success story. What advice would you give to any young person who is suffering in silence and alone? Talk. Pick who you want to talk to. Talk to a trusted adult. I do try to encourage young people to talk to their parents, but if that really is something they can’t do or that is part of the problem I ask them to talk to another trusted adult. That could be a teacher, an aunt, a priest. It could be the caretaker at school. You need to talk about your feelings. Once you have done that you have done the hardest part of it. This is a very common illness and is very relevant to young people. It can be devastating if you are getting to the stage where you are having suicidal thoughts. It interferes with your whole life; your schoolwork, your family, your relationships. It impacts on everything, so the earlier you get help the quicker you will recover. The longer you leave it the more likely you are to sink into depression. Most people will recover from a mild depression after six months, but why suffer if there is treatment and help? It does not need to be tablets, it can be talking, it can be support, and it can be reading up on it to know what to look out for.

Could you tell us a little more about the work you do in schools? The schools programme has been running for eight years. I was employed to develop and run it. It always will be a work in progress as we review and evaluate. The feedback that comes back from young people would warm your heart. I remember one wee girl having heard the talk and being asked how she would treat people with depression she said ‘I wouldn’t take a hand at them anymore.’ So if that is the kind of change in attitude that’s very positive. A lot of them are coming back and saying they think they know someone who might be depressed and they say they are going to talk to them. A lot of what comes back is about depression in the family and we have a booklet on that. This can make a huge impression if there is depression in the family. What are the signs and symptoms to look out for if a young person thinks they may be depressed? Signs and symptoms are the most important things to be aware of. Feelings and emotions like; being very sad, guilty, worried, anxious, having low energy levels, sleeping a lot, sleeping too little, thinking negatively and being very critical of yourself, others, the world and your future. Some people lose interest in things they normally enjoy. Physical symptoms include headaches and backaches. Obviously, if you start having suicidal thoughts it is quite serious. If you have even half of those symptoms you need to talk about it and seek some help.

The books that

got me through the winter

By Serena Rogers (16) I’m pretty sure everyone has at least heard of the ‘Twilight’ book series, by Stephenie Meyer by now, and if you haven’t, where have you been? Described to me as a ‘vampire romance novel’, I was wary about reading it, not wanting blood and gore mixed with romantic kissing scenarios, but within a few pages of the first book I was hooked! As hard as you might try to stay in reality, these books suck you in and keep you up until the early hours of the morning! It’s a good thing there are four books because one is not enough! ‘The Gift’ by Cecelia Ahern, is one of those novels you hate… but you love too. It is the story of a workaholic with a wife and two children, who can’t seem to do anything right by his family. Fate intervenes, turning life as he knows it upside down. This book will make you re-think your own priorities, and those of you who are like me will be gasping through tears for hours after reading this book. I’m getting teary just thinking about it.

‘The Other Boleyn Girl,’ by Philippa Gregory, quite clearly based on the Boleyn sisters’ rise and fall in connection with Henry VIII, is a fantastic read that both taught me more than I learnt in history class and satisfied my thirst for a good story. It is written from the perspective of Mary Boleyn, who throughout her life was known as ‘the other Boleyn girl,’ because she was the shadow of her much more outgoing and fiery sister. I wouldn’t really recommend it to anyone under 16 though, there are a few intimate pages that will make you turn scarlet, so beware!

“I’ve a bone to pick with you,” says a rather pugnacious friend on msn. “What bones are these?” I replied, feeling like a naughty child who has stolen a bag of sweets; guiltily satisfied. Earlier, I had decided to start an experimental investigation into ‘social networking’, the World Wide Web's juciest spider. To you and me that's; Bebo, Myspace and Facebook.

Why would I want to read that when I’m getting comfortable in my bed at night? But after the sudden death of Heath Ledger, I was a little more intrigued than usual at the idea of reading a biography. If everything in this book is correct, then the world lost one amazing man. The book tells of his childhood dreams and the paths he took to achieving them. Before I read this I would never have guessed he’d had a pet kangaroo.

‘The House at Riverton’ by Kate Morton is a story which initially attracted my attention because it was set in the 1920’s, but as each page was turned I fell more and more in love with the characters. It is about two sisters who are very different, but bonded in a way only sisters are. The book charts their lives as they adapt to the changing views of working women, war and experience their first loves. This is a captivating story that I’ve read over and over. Serena Rogers grabs an opportunity for a wee read.

“So I kept clicking and hoped that it would kill Bebo instead. “

By Conor OKane (17)

‘Heath Ledger’ by John Mc Shane was another surprising book. I’m not usually a fan of biographies. They seem to me to be books telling you how great these people are, and why they’re so great.

I have a slight obsession with old fashioned lifestyles, cars and clothes.

While on my computer working on some English Literature coursework, and therefore procrastinating profusely by clicking all over Bebo links, hoping in some way that every click was another hundred words added to my essay, I realised how futile my efforts were.

For further information contact: Aware Defeat Depression 10, Clarendon Street Derry Co Londonderry Tel: 028 7126 0602 Helpline 0845 1202961

When I’m tired of all the sickly sweet romances and the magic of a happily ever after, a factual based story is something that I thoroughly enjoy.

Also futile. It broke my heart looking down at the bottom right hand corner of my screen. I’ve written 500 words, and it’s 1:30 am. At this point, I’m positively seething and discover a new hatred for the internet, and now I’m wreaking a revengeful havoc upon it with the only method I have…. the internet. From this point on, lovers of the internet should avert their gaze for their egos’ safety. Bebo has bent your minds! Don’t deny it! Everyone cares about their placement in “top friends”, page views, photo comments and how much “Bebo

Luv” next door’s 12-year-old has compared to yours. If I have, you have. If you haven’t, you just can’t call yourself a connoisseur of social networking, and you probably don’t know half of the jargon I’m using. Apologies. I have been guilty of all the crimes above, and I’m quite annoyed about it. When Bebo has you trapped in its web, we thrash ourselves around in it, much like the ignorant fly, letting the threads of vanity, self importance and portrayal wind around our brains until we are stuck, like me, at 1:30 am with an essay deadline in the morning, worrying about why ‘yer man from the street’ didn’t give me “luv” back, and why my BFF didn’t leave a mandatory ‘x’ after her comment or why a mere acquaintance was “last active” 3 minutes ago, and didn’t reply to me when I left a comment two hours prior to his internet exit! I hope that I’m starting to catch myself on a bit now. I think I’m going to start a rehabilitation centre for the internet-affected.


James Smallman with a group of Headliners volunteers during his visit to the bureau for an interview.

By Seana Hampstead (14), Kareena Harkin (14) and Eimear Kerr (16) “You sort of think, why me? Simply because of my sexuality, I’m getting attacked over something that I have no control over.”

Although many laughed at the men kissing, no one spoke to encourage attacks on homosexuals. Many of those interviewed knew of gay people who had been attacked because of their sexuality and everyone thought that more needs to be done to stop these attacks.

This was a comment from James Smallman, Mr Gay Northern Ireland. This was his experience of coming out as an 18-year-old living in Derry four years ago.

It was also encouraging that the majority of those interviewed were aware of The Rainbow Project which promotes the health and well-being of gay bisexual men in Northern Ireland. All thought that it was important that young people who are gay, bisexual or lesbian have somewhere they can go for support.

Hate crime is when a certain person, who is gay, lesbian or bisexual is verbally or physically attacked because of their sexuality. People attack these people because they see them as different, and believe they don’t belong to the community. Gay, lesbian and bisexual people that are discriminated against can become depressed, may fear talking to close friends or family and may consider suicide.

Increase participation in comunity development activity

We wanted to find out if young people are more accepting of gay culture and more aware of homophobia in their city than when James was growing up. At a conference looking at homophobia in Derry the shocked reaction to a picture of two men kissing showed that many young people are uncomfortable with the topic of homosexuality. There were 13 schools represented at the conference and 300 students were in the room. Not everyone laughed at the picture, but a large percentage did. When it came to interviewing young people at the conference and afterwards on the streets it was clear that they don’t really know what homophobia is, don’t really want to talk about sexuality, and are not aware of the trauma many people their age are going through as they explore their sexuality alone and confused.


James Smallman believes there is a good support network in Derry today for people who are gay and he feels that the PSNI are very proactive in dealing with homophobic crime. Some of the young people thought that Derry offered some support for those young people who are gay, lesbian or bisexual but the majority of young people thought that the city did not offer enough support. Ryan (14) said: “I don’t think there is enough support really because I haven’t heard of many support organisations. People should try to get on better with people who are homosexual.” Other young people didn’t understand or know what homophobia was or what it meant. However, some young people knew what it was and were disgusted by the attacks on gay, lesbian or bisexual young people. Sara (17) said: “It disgusts me. It is stupid doing that type of stuff. I’m not sure if there is anything in Derry to support people who identify as gay. There needs to be more awareness that it’s just not right to bully someone because of their sexuality. It’s stupid.”

Nicole- Robin (14), said she was very proud to say that she had friends who are gay, lesbian and bisexual. “Yes I know a lot of people who are gay, lesbian and bisexual, and I’m not ashamed that I know them because they are some of the best people I have ever known.” One in five gay people have been at the receiving end of a homophobic attack. Their experiences range from beatings and sexual assault to persistent harassment and insults, often from neighbours and colleagues. Even in schools, children are abused because others think they are homosexual. In a recent newspaper article it was said that, in Derry, a man at the cinema saw an advert on the screen with two gay men kissing each other and he stormed out. He then attempted to sue the cinema and is quoted as saying: “I don’t want my children growing up with gay lifestyles.” Homophobic attacks are common in our city. When the first gay nightclub opened a few years ago, there were countless homophobic attacks night after night against the gay community. Most people know someone, or know of someone who has been attacked because of their sexuality. Dillon (15), thinks it’s because homosexuals are not accepted in this country by the majority of the community, Dillon added: “Yeah I do know someone who has been attacked. Sometimes they are accepted but not really in this country. People don’t really like them. Some people I know are open, but others aren’t.”

Anthony (17), recalled an incident in which he had witnessed what he thought could have been a homophobic attack on the city walls. “One day I was walking along the walls and I saw two males getting battered. I thought it was just a jokey thing but later on I saw them kissing and I thought that maybe they were attacked because of their sexuality.” These attacks can have very serious effects on the victims by damaging their self esteem. Sam (16), agrees with this, “I know someone who has been attacked because of their sexuality. It made them more self-conscious about their appearance.” It is clear that more needs to be done in the city to tackle homophobia and attacks on the gay community. Tessa, (14), thinks that people should “learn more about it, respect people’s decisions and get to know them.” Shauna (14) and Alex (14), would like “to be able to let people know that it’s each person’s right to choose their sexuality. That way they don’t need to be afraid. They are just normal people.” In conclusion, more needs to be done in Derry to support the gay, lesbian and bisexual community and it is hoped that slowly but surely this city will become a friendlier place for everyone to live in.

Mr Gay Northern Ireland talks to Headliners by Seana and Karena Could you tell us your name and little bit about yourself? My name is James Smallman. I’m 22. I live in Derry, I’ve always lived here. I currently work for the Millennium Forum in Derry.

Can you tell us about your title as Mr. Gay Northern Ireland? I entered the Mr. Gay Northern Ireland competition in October 2008, just as a favour for a friend. He was organising a heat for the competition and then he ended up asking me to represent Derry for the competition. So I did, and I went to what I thought was going to be a fun weekend in Dublin, got through in the competition and was then crowned Mr. Gay Northern Ireland. It was a wonderful feeling actually, I had a great time in Dublin and I really enjoyed the experience. And it was nice to meet other people from around the country and find out their experiences of being gay. It also gives me a good opportunity to travel to Canada for the Mr. Gay World competition and Oslo for the Mr. Gay Europe competition. And it will then give me a chance to experience even more stories from people from all across the world about coming out and being gay.

Could you share your experience as a young man coming out in Derry? I came out four years ago, when I was 18. I just told a few close friends. I was quite nervous about coming out and was worried how people were going to take it and what their reactions would be. I came out to my parents about a year after that. I gained some more confidence and I got the support of my family and my peers. I was quite surprised about how understanding my parents

were. Neither of them had any issues with it. They were more concerned about my safety and how it was going to affect my life and my future, but they were very supportive and everyone I know has been. I actually had a very nice coming out experience.

Have you had any experiences of homophobia? I have. I’ve been both physically and verbally abused because of my sexuality. Throughout some of secondary school it was pretty bad at times. Just more verbally than it was physical. I’ve been in trouble in the town twice. I’ve been physically beaten up by people just because of my sexuality. Quite a troubling experience and painful at times, but it’s only happened a few times to me. From those experiences I was quite happy about how it was actually dealt with, both by the police and the support network I have, friends and family.

How did this affect you? At the time, I felt awful. It does play on your self-esteem and it can have quite a bad effect on you. You kind of think ‘why me?’ simply because of my sexuality, something that I have no control over. I actually came out of it a stronger person.

Do you work with young people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender? I work for the local gay and bisexual men’s health organisations such as The Rainbow Project. I do quite a lot of work with gay, bisexual and transgender people. I really enjoy the experience as well. I took part in organising the Foyle Pride festival last year, which again was centred around the whole community. I really enjoy doing that sort of work. It’s nice to do something you feel could benefit your community.


Seana (14) asks young people about homophobia in Derry

How bad do you think the problem of homophobia is for young people in Derry? I think it’s changed considerably in the last 10 or 15 years. There used to be a saying in Derry ‘you go away to be gay.’ People in Derry then would come out and move off to the likes of England or America, and there’s people who still live there now because of the prejudice they faced here. The Rainbow Project and the PSNI have actually done a lot of work to combat homophobia in N.Ireland. Derry’s one of the safest places to be gay now. It has some of the lowest homophobia figures across the country. It can still be difficult, most definitely, but the work by organisations like The Rainbow Project and the PSNI can make Derry even safer for young gay people here.

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Is the problem of homophobia among young people increasing in Derry? I think it’s decreasing actually. Just from what I’ve seen. People seem to be coming out a lot younger now than they used to be in years past. In the 90s or the 80s, you never would have heard of a 1 or 15 year old coming out to their friends, telling them that they were gay. I think people are more understanding now. You’re still going to get people who are very narrow-minded, people who are homophobic towards people. However, the more visible the gay community is, the more understanding and the more tolerant society will be. I think young people are starting to realise that and are saying, “You know what? Sod the negative people, I am who I am and I’m going to show who I am.”


Do you feel that the police take notice of the gay population?

the opportunity to set up a nice loving and accepting home for the child.

Police pay a lot of attention to hate crime. They have a specific legislation set up for it now, whereas they didn’t in the past. Certainly, from my experience, when the attack was reported there was action taken right away. There is also a greater presence of police in the town centre on the weekends too. It does have an affect on the people that would normally try to attack gay people in the street.

What would you like to see being done about the ongoing attacks on gay, lesbian and bisexual young people?

Recently the Pope announced that he was anti-gay. Has this had any affect on those young people coming forward for advice that would class themselves as christian? Again, this isn’t from my own experience but it’s from what I’ve understood. People aren’t put off by it. If they are devoted to it then they will practise their faith, regardless of what the Pope thinks, and they’re quite happy to do so. I’m sure it has a negative impact on their selfesteem and their sense of community. That’s why people belong to a Church, because they want to feel part of a community and I think it sort of separates them from others, but at the end of the day, if they want to practise their faith, any faith for that matter, then they will, regardless of what the Church preaches.

What are your feelings on the legalisation prohibiting gay and lesbian people from adopting and how do you think this will affect gay, lesbian and bisexual young people as they approach adulthood? I think it’s absurd that a gay or lesbian couple could not be given the opportunity to adopt. I mean, there are families out there who just don’t look after their children and they don’t give them a loving home. Gay, lesbian and bisexual people can offer a loving home for children and I think they should be given that opportunity. I don’t think that if children grew up in a gay family then it would have any impact on that child’s sexuality at all. Sexuality is predetermined, there’s nothing that could make you straight or gay. So I don’t think growing up in that sort of atmosphere could have any impact on your sexuality. It could actually have quite a positive impact, if they were given

Well, I don’t agree with violence towards anyone, regardless of their race, sexuality or any aspect of their being. I think there needs to be legalisation to assure that these people won’t carry out these actions again. I think it’s also important for people like that to sit down and actually meet the people that they are prejudiced against and try to work around some of their own prejudices.

There are things in this world that are cruel and disappointing.

What would be your advice to any young person who is unsure or confused about their sexuality?

It angers me with the fire of a thousand suns to see only the minority of people in this world with enough consideration and hopes to make this planet we live on a better and cruel-free place.

Know that they’re not alone. It can be a very isolating experience coming to the realisation that you are gay, bisexual or lesbian but there is a huge support network out there. We are a community in our own right and there will be a great support network for anyone who is gay, bisexual or just curious. And certainly get in touch with The Rainbow Project or any other organisation that are there to help with the whole experience, which obviously can be daunting.

For more information contact: The Rainbow Project 12A Queen Street Derry BT48 7EG Tel: 028 7128 3030

By Nicole-Robin Doherty (14)

Three of the things that really annoy me and that I think everyone should be more aware of are:

• Pollution • Discrimination of vegetarianism • Cruelty in zoos POLLUTION: Here in Derry I feel we as a community are a disgrace to the name of recycling. We do not work well as a team and I doubt that very many of us know the importance of recycling or even how to recycle even though it’s always on the television, on the radio, in magazines and taught in schools. But many of us seem to “blow it off” as if it is of no importance. I think what we really need is to show everyone the effects of not recycling and the dangers of what’s ahead for us all if we do not. For example, the extreme weather conditions we have seen over the last few years such as; the tsunamis, hurricanes, flash floods and droughts. Not only that but we are running out of all our natural resources such as coal, oil and gas. It is also about global warming and the green house effect. Polar ice caps are melting and the air is heating up which is causing extreme weather, a loss in land and a rise in sea levels. In Derry I think we waste so many products and materials. People need more information to help us to save the world! There are a number of things that I see happening in Derry to facilitate our recycling needs, but the progress is slow and we need to get more recycling bins,

into all areas of Derry. We have got a black bin and a blue bin, but these are poorly used and, in my opinion, still not good enough. We need green bins and red bins as well. In Derry we should set up a recycling plant which, yes, would cost money, but in the near future this would help us save money and the world. It would also help us beat the credit crunch by opening space for as many as three thousand jobs. I feel that in Derry we are ignoring the problem. We pollute the land by creating landfill sites not only using up precious space but also releasing the poisonous lectate which has a serious effect on our wildlife numbers. It also poisons our fresh water reserves which are becoming smaller and more precious as we pollute our planet and poison everything. Eventually we have nothing. Five percent of all our waste gets incinerated which does not help our global warming problem either. I could go on… VEGETARIANISM: In Derry I am quite aware that there are a lot of vegetarians. These people get a hard time in schools, restaurants, cafes and fast food joints. As they don’t eat meat and animal products, they seem to be poorly accommodated for, even though places have introduced healthy eating policies. To me it is discriminative towards vegetarians by not considering their needs just because they don’t eat the “usual” food. This creates problems for the individuals in question and, in my opinion, there needs to be something done to help these people and make eating out easier and more enjoyable for them. It seems to me that their needs are ignored by most places and people. If restaurants do have a vegetarian option, it’s so often very limited. There may be only one vegetarian option on the whole menu! Hope that gives you some food for thought!

CRUELTY IN ZOOS: What I know of this issue and the stories I have heard disgusts me. I am opposed to any zoo that keeps animals in confined spaces. I know the argument is that they are unable to release them into the wild because they can no longer fend for themselves and would starve and die. Even though they breed them to create more of their kind, these young animals can also never return to the wild and as I understand mostly live in captivity. Not only may these animals never be free to go back to their natural habitats and stay with their own kind, but they must endure being a show for the general public in zoos. Being stared at through glass, barred cages and over fences, all in the name of education. I really think it’s more to do with money than to save the endangered animals. They are restricting the lives of the animals by not allowing them to be with their own species. I would like to know why the nocturnal animals are also available for access during the day in zoos. There are ignorant people in this world who would like nothing better than to disturb these poor animals just for a few laughs. But just in case you think I don’t love anything here is a list of 10 things that I love in this world:

• • • • • • • • •

Coffee Music Drama Art Headliners Friends The colour yellow Trees Lots of bracelets


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responsibility rests on your shoulders. The reaction from a lot of young people I spoke to is that very few know any young carers. The reality is that many of them probably do but maybe it’s just not obvious.

Headline rs people k volunteer Grace fi now abo ut young nds out what yo ung carers.

By Grace McGowan(14)

At times we all need help. Young people as well as adults need support and the places we find it vary.

But what about adults who turn to young people for help? If you are a young carer reading this, I’d just like to take this opportunity to say a massive ‘Well done!’

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Here at Headliners we want to acknowledge you in our magazine. (Unlike the mainstream media where inspirational young people like you seldom get a look in.) Picture this: When we need medical help it is trained professionals who give it to us. If it is moral support we are looking for then friends or family are the key providers. If we seek educational help then we look to our teachers. The majority of times it is adults whom we ask for advice. Not always, but mostly. Now, imagine if the roles were reversed and teenagers were the source of assistance to the adults. For many young people this is a reality. These young people spend countless hours caring for either: a parent, a grandparent or another relative. The roles of a young carer include; cooking, cleaning, shopping, nursing and providing emotional support. A lot of the jobs are small, but as they have to be done everyday the hours mount up. Basically, since they have to do any job that the patient is unable to do on a day to day basis, they have a lot of responsibility. Considering that the average age of a


A lot of young people also thought that the behaviour and maturity levels of carers would be different. They seemed to think the way they would react to certain situations would be different as would be their ways of communicating with others their own age. Ryan (14)

young carer is just 12 years old, young carers have a lot to cope with. A census taken in 2001 showed that there are 175,000 young carers in the UK and a third of these care for people with mental health problems. A total of 13,000 said that they care for more than 50 hours a week. That is a massive amount of time given up to caring for someone else. A lot of these young carers live in one-parent families so they have no other parent to share the responsibilities. Young people who spend so much time looking after someone else may not have a lot of free time. This can have a knock on effect to their social life and some are bullied because they can’t relate to their peers. Other carers report problems with education and missing out on a lot of opportunities other children have. For some, it is a vicious circle and carers become stressed from the emotional pressure they have no relief from. Despite this being some carers experience it is not everyone’s. Jake Hamilton (15), from Derry is certainly not a pitiful suppressed person. After being asked about his experiences in caring he responded both brightly and positively about his role as a young carer making him a prime example of someone who efficiently juggles his social life and caring life. Jake has a lot to thank caring for. It has made him the person he is today and that person is Mr Personality Plus. Jake answered a few questions: Would you describe yourself as a young carer? A bit, but I know that there are young people out there that do a lot more than me. Who do you care for? My mum.

What responsibilities do you have as a carer? None of your business. Only joking! Small things like cooking and cleaning around the house. Going messages too. How long have you cared for your mum? For as long as long as I can remember. What are the rewards of being a carer? Money….. And ‘self-pride’ ha-ha. What are the drawbacks of being a carer? Maybe not being able to go out as much as I’d like to. Will being a carer affect your independence as a young adult? In what way? If anything, it would make me more independent. I’ll be able to care for myself maybe better than those who aren’t carers. In what way do you feel you are different to other young people your age who aren’t young carers? Not at all different because I’m not a carer 2/7 so I’m out almost just as much as them. What support do you receive or would you like to receive? I don’t think I need any because I’m managing just fine but I do think there are young people that need to receive more help. Obviously how much you are affected as a young carer depends largely on how long you care for each day and, in turn, how much free time that then allows you. Also, having another adult working alongside you can be a great relief because you now know that not all

“I suppose carers would have to be more mature because they would have more responsibilities.” The feeling that the pressures placed on the shoulders of young carers would press them to grow up fast and learn to adapt to their different lifestyle is a popular one. Catherine (14) “Their personalities are different but I don’t treat them in any other way.” This reaction shows how not all young people are completely ignorant of how young carers feel. They accept that maybe they’d be different but treating them separately will not achieve anything. Ronan (16) Didn’t think carers would be different to others. For him to think that they would just act like another young person who maybe didn’t have so much responsibility is a huge step forward. It shows that many young people are taking into account the fact that everyone’s family life is different and the things some young people have to deal with on a day to day basis don’t necessarily have to change their personality. When I asked whether they thought young carers were an inspiration to others. Shannon (14)

In the same way Lauren (16) Said she was inspired by young carers because: “They show maturity and put others before themselves.” As an after-thought she added: “They value things more because have a sense of responsibility in looking after other people.” Young carers definitely do value things we take for granted. Things like free time and having someone else cook a meal for them. Kevin (13), However, picked up on the thought that young carers may be stressed and the things that could lead to. “They would get more frustrated easily. They should be treated the same as other people because if you treat them different it could make them angry and frustrated with themselves.” Ryan (13) Thought: “They would probably have more sense of what they are doing because they would be used to taking care of people.” Ryan clearly thinks this jump in maturity is more of a help than a hindrance: “They inspire me because they do a lot for different people. It’s really kind.” The kindness and selflessness of young carers does inspire other young people. The main challenge now is channelling that positive feeling so that they know just how much others understand and feel inspired by them.

This is evidence again of just how young carers actually are and how a lot of us actually couldn’t contemplate having to go even a day in their shoes. But of course if you do find yourself in a situation in which you become a young carer be careful to remember that not everything will change. You can still be the same person you always were and it’s really not the end of the world. Taking Jake as an inspiration you can see that it has had no major impact on his life as far as he is concerned. This is particularly heartening for new young carers who have never had this experience before and are scared they may not step up to the bar. Anything you can do is a help, any time you can give is appreciated and anyone you help will always value it and value you. In conclusion the work of young carers is seriously overlooked. The things they do everyday are so small that som--e people wouldn’t even consider it caring at all! But the difference they make is phenomenal and many people would not be able to stay and live in their own homes without their help. A lot of us have to open our eyes to see what is right in front of us, to realise and value the role of young carers and treat them with the respect and dignity they deserve. Exclusion and awkward feelings from others should not hinder a young person’s progress. Before we make assumptions or immediately stereotype a young carers we should remember that not everyone finds their responsibilities overwhelming. Some people in fact view it as an important part of their personality and cannot really imagine life without this experience.

Finally, Carolann (14) Told us how much she admired the work of young carers. “My friend is a carer. She looks after her mummy. Her mummy is deaf in both ears and partially blind. She is more mature than most and she doesn’t carry on as much and she takes things more seriously when jokes are being said.

“I completely think they are an inspiration to young people.”

”“She’s definitely an inspiration to me. I don’t think I could do what she does for her mummy every day and she’s younger than me!”

This particular quote struck me because she said it without hesitation. I thought that maybe if more young people could view carers in this way it would be an end to them feeling unappreciated and undervalued.

This shows us how we should all be careful of the jokes we make and the things we say. People may be affected by these offhand comments more than we care to notice.


By Eimear Kerr (16) - CVS VOLUNTEER HOW I HEARD ABOUT HEADLINERS I’m the kind of person who loves to be involved in every club under the sun so when I heard a few friends talking about Headliners, I decided to go along to find out what the craic was. As soon as I walked in the door I knew I would be sticking around – everyone was so welcoming and friendly. The bureau itself is handy because it’s near my school so it’s only a matter of walking down the street. MY EXPERIENCE SO FAR My experience so far has been brilliant. For one thing, I’ve met so many new people and most of them now are really good friends of mine. I’ve been involved in youth projects and I help out with the Headliners magazine. We talk a lot about issues involving young people, not only matters in Derry but on a global scale as well. The organisers give us the opportunity to be taken seriously and have our opinions voiced. The place itself is quality as it has loads of top notch computers, a plasma screen, and a microwave! You get the idea – it’s amazing. Being a volunteer at Headliners is easy for me because although you may be putting in quite a number of hours, you don’t really notice it because it’s always good fun and never boring. Many of the other volunteers are roughly the same age as me so there’s always a good atmosphere around the place. Volunteering, not just for Headliners but for anything really, always leaves you feeling that you’re doing something useful and helpful. I think this is really important as I feel that most young people are discriminated against in modern society due to the media only focusing on the negative aspects of teenage life like knife crime etc. Headliners shows young people in the positive light they deserve to be shown in.


At the moment I’m considering becoming a peer trainer for Headliners in the near future. This will mean that I will take an active role in facilitating groups involved both inside and outside the Headliners bureau – maybe helping out with community outreach programmes and things like that. HOW HEADLINERS WILL HELP ME PURSUE MY CAREER, HOPES AND SHAPE ME AS A PERSON. The career path I want to take is one in journalism. Because of this, Headliners is the perfect place for me to gain lots of experience and gain skills that will be useful for me in the future. I feel that Headliners will also be very helpful for me as a person in the future. Meeting young people from Derry who are really passionate about not only their futures but the futures of others has inspired me to aim high and do well for myself. During my time with Headliners I won the Press Officer UK Bar National Mock Trial competition, defeating 160 entrants from throughout the UK. I will collect my prize in a ceremony at ‘The Old Bailey’ in London. I owe thanks to my mentors at Headliners who gave me great encouragement throughout my involvement in this competition. Lorraine (35) – CVS volunteer I first found out about Headliners when I was completing an OCN Level 3 course in Radio and Broadcast Journalism and we were asked by our tutor if we were interested in listening to a talk from one of the facilitators from Headliners. That person was Headliners Journalist and Volunteer Coordinator, Audrey Martin. She told us what would be involved in the volunteering experience and that if we were interested, to leave our names with our tutor. I more or less decided right then and there that I was going to put my name forward for consideration as a volunteer. I found out that I had been accepted to be a volunteer in January 2008 and since then I haven’t looked back. In the 1 months that I have been a volunteer with Headliners I have been involved in many radio, print journalism and film projects

and various workshops and training courses. I have also had the opportunity to use the skills and knowledge that I have gathered not only in my working life but with various other voluntary organisations that I have been involved in too. One thing I must say is not only have I had the chance to pass on my knowledge but I have also gained so much from my experience.

HEADLINERS members and staff were delighted with the turn-out to the launch of their ‘Global Eye’ education resource.

As already mentioned above I have been in radio, print journalism and film projects over the past 1 months, some of these have included the ‘Caw 2000’ radio, print journalism and photography project that involved bringing together a group of young people from the Caw Nelson Drive area of Londonderry and giving them the support that they needed to get the message across to those in power that they should talk less about fixing problems in the area and just fix them. I have also had the chance to be a support worker on a film project that was produced during the summer. It was called ‘When Cultures Meet II’. It was a cross-cultural film highlighting how foreign nationals have felt and feel whilst living in Ireland. I found both of these experiences challenging but ultimately very rewarding as I got the chance to improve upon those skills that I already had but I also acquired some new ones.

Headliners showcased work produced over the three years of the unique Global Eye project in the Void art gallery.

The one thing that I did realise as a volunteer was that there are some areas that I have limitations in. For example, when I have been asked a question from one of the young people about a complicated matter and I was unable to answer. Even though I did not have an immediate answer I felt able to approach Audrey Martin or Malachy Kyle and ask them for their help in providing an answer to the question.

YOU HAVE YOUR SAY ON US….. continued

Ultimately, I am enjoying my experience as a volunteer with Headliners. All the experiences that I have had and am continuing to have are helping to broaden my horizons in an exponential way. The experience has changed my perspective and challenged my opinions and viewpoints. I would thoroughly advise that if someone is interested or thinking about volunteering to not feel that they have got nothing to offer or be afraid to get involved. The rewards gained will outweigh any initial fears or doubts felt.

Photographic images entitled ‘One Truth One Lie’ were on display as well as poetry and satirical artwork from the project. Photos on display explored issues around HIV / Aids & malaria to poverty both globally to locally while the artwork explore the Millennium Development Goals. All the images displayed got a very serious message across on issues that are impacting on our communities in a simple way to the young people, councillors, journalists, editors, parents

“It’s always a pleasure working with Headliners staff and volunteers. The fact that they’re all so enthusiastic and motivated makes our job so much easier. I think the whole Headliners experience gives young people a great head-start in the media industry and equips them with a lot of essential life skills. I wish it had been around when I was a teenager!” Claire McDermot, Verbal Radio Coordinator, Verbal Arts Centre. “The staff and young people from Off the Streets have always enjoyed participating in the training and activities provided by Headliners. Our Play Volunteers were able to promote their new youth led project by using the media skills they had gained at Headliners to do a write up in the Belfast Telegraph. This had an obvious positive impact they have had on our young people.”

and community representatives present at the launch. Maggie Taggart (BBC Education and Arts Correspondent) said: “I’m really impressed with the quality of the artwork. I think anyone who has any sense will know that it is only a few young people who are giving a bad impression to young people in general.” Martin McGinley (Editor, Derry Journal) added: “One of the criticisms of local newspapers is that it doesn’t really reflect what young people think or say so if we can get that in there we should. The very fact that young people are tackling these issues that a lot of adults would be scared off by deserves to be highlighted. If you give young people a chance or an opportunity they won’t get into destructive behaviour that they are probably just doing because they are bored.”

Margaret Fegan, Millennium Volunteer Coordinator “Working with the guys n’ gals at Headliners on the design of the magazine had to be the highlight of the year for me. I have to say I was totally blown away by the level of energy, enthusiasm and raw talent that the young newshounds emanated. All in all – Great Team, Great Experience!” Gerard Bedell, Volunteer graphic designer. “I’ve very much enjoyed working with Headliners in the radio studio as part of discussions, vox-pops or interviews on issues which concern young people. There is a confidence and decency about the Headliners team which is refreshing and inspiring. They are not afraid to say what they think but they think about what they are saying. Their maturity and sense of fun makes them a unique group of young journalists.” Deirdre Donnelly, BBC Producer and Presenter.

Enjoying Headliners Global Eye Project Launch at The Void in Derry are; (back row) Maggie Taggart (BBC), Nora Greer (Headliners Trustee), Maurice Devenny (Deputy Mayor of Derry), Audrey Martin, (Headliners Foyle Journalist and Volunteer Coordinator). Front Row: Headliners members; Robert Thompson, Emma Arbuckle, Aoife O’Connell and Sunita Singh Hans.

“At the risk of showing favouritism!... Headliners is an extremely valuable organisation with a strong and committed staff and enthusiastic young members. I have been impressed by the quality of written, filmed and photographic work they have produced . In particular the "Off the Walls" magazine series showcases work which would not be out of place in a professionally produced publication. Good luck and keep up the good work.” Maggie Taggart, Education and Arts Correspondent, BBC Northern Ireland. “I was so impressed by the Headliners young people at the Future Search Conference. They are a credit to the organisation. Best wishes.” SPS, Aideen McGinley , Department for Employment and Learning


Innovative approaches to increasing the diversity and number of volunteers


Off the Walls Issue 6  

Headliners Foyle young people explore iswsues that effect them.

Off the Walls Issue 6  

Headliners Foyle young people explore iswsues that effect them.