This project allows us to work with around 25 schools across Northern Ireland bringing young people together in cross-community clusters in their local areas. Over a 5 session programme the young people meet, agree on issues they care about and then develop a project or presentation on that issue which they take to the Northern Ireland Assembly to present to politicians. Some groups also go to the Irish Daíl.
In the process they discuss and research the issues that are important to them and learn how to present them - growing in their understanding and self-confidence. Young people tell us that they enjoy being able to discuss issues they might not get to discuss normally in school - and they like having a safe space to discuss even difficult and controversial issues and learning from the perspectives and experiences of others.
We have a skilled team of facilitators who help to deliver these programmes and to bring in guest speakers. They have extensive political knowledge and expertise and are a great resource and support for the groups.
Increasingly we are working to find new ways of supporting the longer term involvement of young people in addressing issues that are important to them. We also work closely with partners, including; Start 360, Diverse Youth NI, the Secondary Students Union and others to increase the impact of our work.