Both were part of our 'Poreto for Progression' project which links Portadown College with Loreto Community College in Milford, Donegal and funded by the International Fund for Ireland. With their peers they created a cross-border youth manifesto and both were part of a sub-group looking at youth participation in their schools, communities and more widely. One of the recommendations of their manifesto was for an 'All Ireland Youth Council' so the Forum is a perfect way for them to share their ideas with others. We are really looking forward to following their journey.
"Now is the right time for the people across Ireland to work together", says Sophia Atkinson. "As young people we should take a lead in these conversations". "I am super grateful to be part of the Shared Island Youth Forum" says Sabrina. "Being part of Politics in Action has really opened my eyes to the shared concerns on both sides of the border, and having a shared forum will open new lines of communication between young people across the island."
They are also both part of our 'Young Evaluators' team and will be helping us to measure the impact of our work over the year ahead. We are delighted that their commitment to our projects is being recognised in this way and we are confident they will make a great contribution to the work of the Forum.
The Forum is supported by the Department of the Taoiseach's 'Shared Island Unit' and the purpose is to "…provide as space for young people to discuss their common concerns and values for a shared future. The Forum will see young people interact with their peers from different communities, traditions, religions and backgrounds on the island of Ireland." It is supported by the Shared Island Unit and by the National Youth Council of Ireland.
Both Sabrina and Sophia are 18 years old and beginning their final year of school. They will be two of the youngest members of the Forum which involves 80 young people aged 18 - 25 from across the island.