New competition encourages young filmmakers to explore wonders of nature

By | Film, General, News

Northern Ireland’s young people are being encouraged to channel their inner Sir David Attenborough by making a documentary about the wonders of nature.

Film Education Charity Into Film today launched ‘Nature in Your Neighbourhood’, a new UK-wide filmmaking competition that calls on young people aged 5-19 to make a live action or animated short film exploring the beauty on their doorstep.

Entries will be open until Friday, June 19 and the winner will receive a filmmaking bundle worth £300 and two runners up will get their hands on a year’s subscription to Netflix.

Lorraine Magee of Into Film in NI said: “We want our creative young people to use their exercise time during lockdown to explore their neighbourhood, park or garden. They can document something they’ve noticed or appreciated while spending more time in their local area with whatever filmmaking equipment that’s available at home, including a smart phone, tablet or camera as well as Into Film’s free home filmmaking resources.”

Into Film has a huge range of online education resources available to young people to keep them occupied during the Covid-19 crisis. Its Home Learning Hub and the ‘Nature in Your Neighbourhood’ competition is supported by the BFI awarding National Lottery funding.

As schools remain closed across Northern Ireland, film can be extremely effective at keeping young people meaningfully occupied and engaged in the curriculum, and the hub’s free content includes primary and secondary activities, fifty film guides, a review writing competition, a continually updated list of films to stream from home and direct advice from both home educators and learners – https://www.intofilm.org/news-and-views/articles/home-learning

For more information on how to enter ‘Nature in Your Neighbourhood’, head to the Into Film website – https://www.intofilm.org/nature-in-your-neighbourhood

Young people demand answers from Government on Coronavirus

By | General, News, Newsroom

Young people in Northern Ireland are taking their concerns about the coronavirus directly to their political leaders.

Seven hundred and eighty young people aged 11-25 gave their views on an online survey carried out by the Northern Ireland Youth Forum (NIYF) to capture and establish their understanding and top concerns during the Covid-19 outbreak.

The survey, entitled ‘Our Voices Aren’t In Lockdown’, revealed that 73% of young people feel that they need access to more appropriate information relating to Covid-19 and 74% believe there is not enough testing going on.

The NIYF, which promotes the voice of young people in Northern Ireland, has organised a video conference where young people and political champions made up of MLAS will come together to discuss and debate the results of the survey. This online platform will take place on Wednesday 29th April.

NIYF Participation Development Worker, Natalie Corbett said: “Young people’s voices are as important as ever right now, they have lots of questions about the current situation and we want to ensure their voices are heard and that they know we are here to support them. These are very uncertain times and we look forward to getting those questions answered.”

While they clearly understood the stay home, stay safe message, many are looking for ways to contribute to help the most vulnerable people in their community.

One survey respondent commented: “If I had the chance, I would ask the Prime Minister or First Minister and Deputy First Minister if there’s anything we as young people can do to help in any way at all. Even if it’s a hand with voluntary work.”

The young people submitted more than 600 questions and their views will be relayed to MLAs and other decision makers in Northern Ireland. They are calling for more information on issues such as mental health, education and testing for Covid-19.

Among the questions asked by young people were:

  • ‘How are those with mental health problems being helped while in isolation and lockdown?’
  • Why is more not being done to provide the facts and only the facts rather than speculation as it has created a moral panic for the masses putting even more people in danger
  • Why are young people not being addressed about this like the Norwegian PM did? Don’t sugar coat it, be honest.

To see the full survey please visit NIYF’s Facebook page on https://www.facebook.com/NIYouthForum/videos/2999137530175048/ or website https://www.niyf.org/.

Halifax Foundation helps NI charity sector with nearly £388K to address Covid crisis

By | Business, Corporate, General, News

The Halifax Foundation for Northern Ireland has responded quickly to the Covid-19 outbreak, awarding £387,854 in just four weeks to 66 charities battling to support their local communities during this time of crisis.

On the day the lockdown was announced (March 23) the Foundation moved immediately to provide emergency grants to support these charities in a range of activities to benefit those most at risk, including running food banks and delivering food parcels to those in need, domestic abuse support, mental health provision and online employability support for those who have lost their job as a result of the outbreak.

Brenda McMullan, Executive Director of the Halifax Foundation for NI said, “We are truly humbled by the amazing efforts of our charity and community sectors during these very uncertain and unprecedented times. The Foundation is working hard to award additional funding to those that need it most, and we are aware that time is of the essence. We will also help charities post-COVID to rebuild and re-establish their services at a time when they will be needed to help rebuild society.”

One of the first recipients was Crumlin-based charity A Safe Space to Be Me which received £9,625 to help people in rural areas to access their local foodbank, obtain sanitation products, and support those who were self-isolating, particularly the elderly and vulnerable members of their community.

The Halifax Foundation for NI was also the first funder to match Belfast Charitable Society in supporting North Belfast students to continue to learn from home. Its £10,000 grant leveraged a further £40,000, enabling the purchase of 225 laptops and a series of educational resources for five secondary schools with the highest free school meal entitlement. The legacy of this project will live on as other students will be able to borrow equipment for years to come.

The Mid-Ulster Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (MACP) is another charity to benefit from a £10,000 grant. Following the outbreak of Coronavirus MACP had to stop face to face counselling and the funding will help it to buy online resources such as laptops, headsets and telephone equipment to enable them to use video conferencing to counsel those most in need, as well as providing clinical support for all of their counsellors.

Life Change Changes Lives in Downpatrick received a £2,500 grant to help them buy supplies as part of a project supporting those with mental ill health or addiction who are resettling back into the community after treatment.

Current grantees were also offered the opportunity to re-profile their grants to immediately respond to the COVID crisis, with the Foundation also providing flexibility and extensions to grants where needed.

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Into Film announces free home educational activities

By | Creative Industries, Film, News

An education resource designed for use in schools is now available free online for Northern Ireland families to assist with home learning during the coronavirus outbreak.

Education charity Into Film has a pack of useful teaching tools to help children of all ages with literacy, creative writing, critical thinking, film making and other skills to continue to learn while the schools are closed.

Into Film is a UK-wide organisation with a regional hub in Northern Ireland, which aims to put film at the heart of children and young people’s education, helping to support their academic, cultural, and social development.

Sean Kelly of Into Film said: “This will be a difficult time for families, and we want to make our resources and support freely available to everyone. These activities will provide help for teachers and parents by providing simple, easy and useful tasks that young people can complete unaided. Among other things, our activities will give young people the ability to turn any film or television viewing into an educational experience.”

The activities include writing film reviews, exploring film genres, curating cinema programmes and making your own movie.

Into Film’s review writing guides can help young people apply their film knowledge, critical thinking and literacy skills to any film, providing a valuable and entertaining means of honing their English and writing skills.

Young people can also submit their review to the Into Film website for entry in the Review of the Week competition, with great prizes to be won including film prizes and family cinema vouchers to help support cinemas when they reopen.

Online activities also encourage and support young people to make films that can be done on a mobile phone or tablet. And its ongoing Film of the Month competition offers the perfect way for young people to keep busy with a practical project that can be completed within the home, enhancing various skills including organisation, planning, IT and creative thinking.

Into Film’s aim is to support as many teachers and parents as possible in the coming weeks, by keeping children intellectually stimulated and entertained. To access  or download Into Film’s free resources go to: https://www.intofilm.org/news-and-views/articles/activities-for-young-people-to-do-at-home

To contact Into Film directly email: intofilmni@intofilm.org