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opportunity youth newsletter

Feb 2011

opportunity youth newsletter

February 2011

At a Glance: Chief Executive’s Message


Serving Board Members


Homebaking Arts & Crafts Fundraiser P3 Lads2Dads


Birthdays & Best Wishes


O.Y. Services

P4 Some of the Opportunity Youth staff who took part in the street collection around Belfast on December 23rd.

Reaching Them Young Family Day

Strengthening Families Three members of OY staff and three members of DAISY/Ascert attended 2 days of training in December for the Strengthening Families pilot programme beginning in Belfast in the New Year. Strengthening Families is a skilled based approach to working with the family which is currently running in all counties in Southern Ireland. Up to 12 families will take part, meeting one evening a week for 14 weeks. The format of the evening is All family members and facilitators will have a sit down meal Parents and teenagers will separate and take part in one hour of skills based group work Parents and teenagers will come together again for an hour to practice skills Follow up practice and support will take place in the home

The Reaching Them Young project brought together over forty young people and family members for a fun filled Family Day at the end of last year. The weather was pretty cold but there was plenty to keep everyone active and warm, with team games, canoeing, archery, face painting, arts and crafts, dancing and for some just relaxing in front of the fire. It was absolutely fantastic to see grandparents, parents, teenagers, children and babies all together - having fun, working together, taking on challenges, supporting each other and communicating positively. There were a number of parents who were quaking in their boots saying they couldn’t do the canoeing, but with the support of their children they were able to overcome their fears – BRILLIANT!! The feedback from parents and young people about the day was really positive, “Good fun enjoyed everything. Didn’t want to go home” “...was a great day with my family, was superb definitely would do again” “Getting out of the house was great” “I liked the activities, group work and how everyone got on together, face painting, making scoobies and all the staff” There was a really good spirit on the day – it felt good as a worker to be part of the Family Day. A fantastic effort was put in by all members of the Reaching Them Young team to make the day happen – Well Done! There will be another this year – any other projects feel they could tie in with us.

This is a really exciting approach, bringing together a diverse range of workers and agencies to run the programme. Opportunity Youth recognise the importance of a ‘whole’ family approach and are delighted to be part of the pilot programme. If anyone would like more information on Strengthening Families please contact Edel Maginn, Ciara McAlinden or Gerry McVeigh.


opportunity youth newsletter

Feb 2011

Chief Executive’s Message for 2011

Education, Employment or Training) today. These young people represent those who are most often unable to participate in programmes and work. At the same time, they represent the young people for whom there are only a few organisations that can offer viable services based on evidence and outcome based practice.  This is Opportunity Youth.

2010 has been yet another challenging and exciting year for Opportunity Youth. Among these challenges has been the development and implementation of a range of new and recurrent contracts. We, as a result have again made the best of the opportunities available to us and in doing so secured new work in both the prison environment and in the community. Last year we dealt with 10701 young people compared with 3599 the previous year.

Our Chairpersons for this period, John McCorry and more recently Nick Garbutt, have worked tirelessly to ensure Opportunity Youth’s vision is realised. The experienced and expert Opportunity Youth Board and the governance measures to be introduced in the next year have the potential to lead and direct Opportunity Youth to where it needs to be now and in the future.

These successes are based very much on the organisations ability to identify need and seize the opportunity to deal with the most pressing problems facing civil society today - the consequences of unattended youth: their anger, hopelessness, lack of positive options that lead to disenfranchisement and disconnectedness. Indeed those young people and potentially future vulnerable adults currently pose the greatest impact on public safety today and are most likely to be dependent on the resources available in terms of health and social care, welfare, social security and housing for the short, medium and long term. The work involved in supporting these young people is not easy and can be peppered with disappointment, success, job satisfaction, failure and great joy in equal measure. This work has to be non-traditional, innovative, evolving and creative to meet the diverse needs of this challenging group. This is Opportunity Youth’s work.

Our staff continue to be among the most expert, committed, loyal, enthusiastic and dedicated practitioners in the country and for this I am eternally grateful. last year, I had the wonderful pleasure of being presented with the MBE for services to the young people of Northern Ireland. I gladly accepted this award on behalf of the Board and Staff of Opportunity Youth who I have the pleasure to represent. However, we have some major challenges ahead of us in the next year. These include: • Maintaining our contracts across the region • Continuing to improve the delivery and quality of all our contracts through the process of quality assurance • Building on our current infrastructure in terms of critical staff and ICT • Continuing to recruit quality professional staff and volunteers • Ensuring positive outcomes for all our stakeholders, clients, staff, partnership organisations and funders • Cutting our costs if possible ensuring quality of service is not placed at risk • Bring the organisation firmly into the 21st Century • Working proactively with Private Sector. Opportunity Youth will meet these challenges with the tenacity, commitment and dedication that we are now renowned for. All of this we will carry out mindful that the needs of young people have to be central to all that we do. As David Blanchflower, the eminent economist states - ‘Let’s focus on the young……...The current big issue is that the large cohort of unemployed youth will create permanent scars not temporary blemishes on society and become the lost generation.’ This is Opportunity Youth’s work………supporting the lost generation.

A multitude of excellent programmes and services are available in Northern Ireland to meet the needs of ‘at-risk’ young people. However, in reality, this broad category includes young people along a vast continuum of preparedness for education, work, and safety. As I see it Opportunity Youth focuses on those most at-risk, those young people more accurately described as youth in crisis or very high-risk youth. More often than not, these young people are the ones who fall between the cracks of the very systems that were designed to help and protect them. Few programmes attempt to serve them and even fewer have demonstrated success in altering their life outcomes. This is Opportunity Youth’s work. This target population represents the front end of the continuum of the approximated 13,000 16 to 19 year old disconnected and disengaged young people in Northern Ireland which we currently describe as NEET (not in

Anne-Marie McClure Chief Executive January 2011

Serving Board Members 2010/11 Chair


Vice Chair


Nick Garbutt

Eamonn Molloy


Michele Marken OBE 2

Tony Hennessy

John McCorry Susan Russam MBE Amanda Doherty Austin Treacy

opportunity youth newsletter

Feb 2011

Homemade Arts & Crafts and Baking Fundraiser A massive THANK YOU goes out to everyone who supported the fundraising event at Hazelwood Integrated College on 9th December. Tons of effort was put in, with people baking, making crafts and giving their precious time. A grand total of £212.50 pence was raised to support the work of Opportunity Youth! Special thanks to the young people who helped out on the evening – Beth, Jolene, Naimh and Sarah. A BIG thanks to Hazelwood College for giving us the space for a stall and thank you to Gemma Agnew for all her hard work organising event.

Lads2Dads The Lads2Dads project delivered by Opportunity Youth and has been re-launched in the past few weeks. I am proud to reveal that Lads2Dads has been expanded into the Northern Area (being Ballymena, Antrim, Carrickfergus, Newtownabbey and Larne) as well the Belfast Trust. Lads2Dads started in Feb 2008 and was in Partnership with Health Action Zone after consultation with young fathers and young father agencies. Lads2Dads was developed to deliver in the North and West Belfast and worked with young fathers aged from 16 - 25 year old that needed support and advice in terms of parenting or contact issues. The programme was developed as a need was found for a educational young fathers programme. The Core content of the programme is very free flowing and also ideal for young fathers as they developed the contents of the programme. The duration of the programme lasts for 12 weeks and is delivered at a time that suits the group as they have other responsibilities in their day to day Life. The outline of the programme is; • Confidence in Fatherhood • Communication

• Discipline • Anger management • Role of the father / Values / Parenting Skills • Employment • Emotional / Mental Health • Role of Social Services • Masculinity • Sexual Health • The law and your rights • Relationship / Sexuality • Understanding Self These are key elements and are important for young fathers to learn to adapt to the situation and have been very useful to all previous groups. Lads2Dads has a peer support element to the programme success as young fathers learn from each other’s experiences. The key success to Lads2Dads is that it brings in outside speakers and this keeps it interesting and fresh. Lads2Dads is also an accredited programme and this has helped past participants to gain access to their children during ongoing court cases, as it shows them to be more productive in terms of taking parenting seriously.

The Lads2Dads programme has been very productive in terms of helping young fathers over the past 2 years and we aim to continue as we expand across in to new territory such as that of the Northern Area. This will be a challenge but a challenge that we are looking forward to within Opportunity Youth. Lads2Dads has been recognised as one of the leading young fathers group in the Northern Ireland, in terms of educational support, this was highlighted in the Documentary entitled Lads2Dads. This was the first programme in Northern Ireland to show and produce a documentary in Northern Ireland. This has helped to lift the profile of the programme as well as other media sources such has newspapers and Radio. Lads2Dads is still taking referral forms for both areas being Belfast and Northern Area and if you have anybody that would be on benefit to this programme then please contact me directly to the Office on 02890 435810. Cieran McAuley


Birthdays in February

Training 10th/11th Feb CIS Training – Hill Street Organisational Training 1st/2nd/3rd March OCN Mentoring Training 4th March

We would like to wish a happy birthday to the following people who are celebrating this month

Investors in People

Geri O’Kane-4th Feb Ann O’Doherty-4th Feb Nicola Hanna-15th Feb Dana Strong- 16th Feb Laura McAllistar- 19th Feb Catherine Smith-22nd Feb Kathie McCausland-23rd Feb Gerry McVeigh-25th Feb

9th & 10th March

May Day 2nd May

Anyone interested in running the relay in the Belfast Marathon for Opportunity Youth Contact Ellen Waring on 028 90 435810

Best wishes to.. Congratulations Cara McHugh on the birth of Baby Devon Good Luck Norman Foote off to pastures new 3

opportunity youth newsletter

Feb 2011

Opportunity Youth is an award winning regional youth organisation, established in 1993. Opportunity Youth has developed its services around the ever changing needs of the young people in Northern Ireland. By holding true to our core vision we continue to provide a range of innovative services, focused on making a positive impact on the lives of young people.

Mission: Vision: Opportunity Youth Values:

Helping those we work with make the most of life’s opportunities and be the best they can be.

• Our services work! • Accepting those we work with at face value • Together we will succeed • You think you can’t, we believe you can

The quality of Opportunity Youth’s services will leave a lasting footprint on the world.

• We deliver what we promise • Challenge promotes possibility • Mistakes are temporary, success is permanent

Within the organisation we have a wide range of services available:

Reaching them Young is a service for young people who feel socially Community Support Work isolated or excluded from their communities. This could be due to behavioural issues, emotional health and wellbeing or cultural differences. This service is available to those deemed at risk or vulnerable and in need of help and support in relation to alcohol or drug use.

Opportunity Youth offers emotional and behavioural support to every individual who comes into custody within the Young Offenders Centre and Prison.l Provision (Regional)

The Drug and Alcohol Community Support Workers cover various areas in the southern board, working in Fivemiletown, Augher, Clogher, Ballygawley, Aughnacloy, Caledon, Dungannon, Armagh, Lurgan and Portadown. We are currently offering a wide range of services in your area to try and increase awareness about DRUGS and ALCOHOL Community lead support for the WHOLE community delivered by our Community Support Workers through…. • Accredited programmes • Non Accredited programmes • Community Drop-in/ outreach • Group work • Information sessions • Short intensive one-to-one work Topics covered include… • Drug and Alcohol awareness • Drug and Alcohol use/misuse • Recognising issues of substance misuse • Exploring behaviours • Life skills • Anti social behaviour Views of people using this service: “I’ve learnt so much and it’s been really interesting” “It’s great being able to get a qualification and enjoy what your learning at the same time” For further information contact: Claire Carleton, Drug and Alcohol Community Support Worker, Tel: 07545929277

Specialist Support Provision

CHILL Mentoring and Counselling


is a service provided by Opportunity Youth funded by the South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust and is delivered in partnership with the Trust and the Northern Ireland Prison Service. AD:EPT is a comprehensive substance misuse service providing a multi component model of delivery. The service will operate as part of a multi disciplinary team in the prison establishments and the community

16+ Transition Team employment.

This is a 12 week mentoring support programme for young people who are looked after or have a care history within the Belfast Health & Social Care Trust. This programme is primarily targeted around education, training and

Opportunity Youth in Hydebank

Extra support to deal with barriers to employment delivered through mentoring, bespoke and/ or accredited groupwork. This service is only available to Recognised Training Organisations (RTO’s)

We also offer support for young people aged 8 – 17 who are directly or indirectly affected by drugs or alcohol. Views of young people using this service: “Mentoring is going really well, it’s so good to have someone who listens to me without judging” “I can talk about anything and not feel stupid” Areas: Clogher Valley, Armagh, Dungannon, Banbridge, Lurgan, Craigavon, Newry and Portadown For further information contact: Joanne Cahill (mentor) Tel: 07545929281 or Catherine Donaghy (counsellor) Tel: 07545929280

Support to Youth Conference Service

This service supports young people undertaking a Youth Conference plan. Support offered includes coaching, mentoring and advocacy.

Gerry Rogan Initiative Trust (GRIT)

The GRIT residential experience is targeted at young people at risk and those who have not succeeded in their formal education. Pre and post residential mentoring is also part of this service.

Protect Life Mentoring Service

Drug and Alcohol Targeted Education

The Protect Life Mentoring Programme is designed to support vulnerable young people who present issues around problem behaviours, self harm and suicide which could negatively affect their emotional health and wellbeing Views of young people using this service: “I’m working on self harm issues and my mentor is keeping me motivated” “My depression is ongoing and can be difficult at times, I have suicidal thoughts but this service is really helping me” Areas: Southern Health Board Area and Belfast For further information contact: Liedania Haughain (Mentor Southern Area) Tel: 07545929289

This service is a groupwork intervention for young people identified as chronic substance misusers aged 8 - 17 years.


This service offers support to young people aged 16 - 25 years on Probation in Ballymena, Antrim and Coleraine.

Lads to Dads

Lads2Dads is an accredited groupwork programme that provides young fathers/fathers to be aged 16 - 25 within the Belfast and Northern Health &Social Care Trust with support in a variety of areas of fatherhood.

DAISY Drug and Alcohol Intervention Service for Youth

Independent Representation (Woodlands Juvenile Justice Centre)

The service is accessible to young people aged 8-25 years old, whose lives may be affected directly or indirectly by Alcohol or drug

The Independent Representative uses an independent advocacy model when promoting the rights of young people and making representation on their behalf. The IR represents the views of young people to others, possibly decision makers, allowing young people to navigate their way through systems and processes making informed decisions and feeling confident that they are going to be taken seriously.

misuse. DAISY are able to offer a comprehensive range of treatment and psychological interventions that are appropriate in order to meet the specific needs of the young person. The DAISY Service can offer: • Mentoring • Counselling • One-One work • Brief Intervention work • Unstructured Family Support • Group Mentoring • Therapeutic Groupwork • Groupwork Areas: Western Area and Eastern Area Offices in: Omagh, Derry and Belfast For further information contact: Bernie Carleton (Key Worker Western Area) Tel: 07545929271

Youth Advice Centre (YAC)

This is a sexual health clinic located at the Waterside Health Centre, 14 – 23 Spencer Road, Derry that provides sexual health and wellbeing advice including contraception. It operates on a Monday and Friday from 3pm - 5pm.

Employability Scheme

This service aims to create an infrastructure which will remove barriers to accessing training and employment within the Belfast Health & Social Care Trust for young people in care and leaving care aged 16+. 4

Feb2011 newsletter  

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