Hundreds of young people will be ‘ramping it up for PEACE’ with a spectacular display of extreme urban sports, street music, dance and graffiti art in Carrickfergus later this month.
The SK8 Urban XPO event at Carrickfergus Amphitheatre and Skate Park on October 30 will include BMX demonstrations, free running, break dancing, spray paint art and ‘turntablism’ featuring some of Northern Ireland’s top urban sports people and artists.
The celebration event is the culmination of a personal development youth project facilitated by the Northern Ireland Youth Forum (NIYF) in conjunction with the CAN Peace III Mapping Meaningful Solutions Project and Carrickfergus Borough Council Good Relations Office. The event is facilitated by T13 Urban Sports Academy.
At the launch of the event, organiser Phil Glennon from the Northern Ireland Youth Forum, said:
“This is going to be one of the best displays of urban sport, music and art ever seen in Northern Ireland. I’m sure that young people will come from far and wide to enjoy it.”
The project, which ran from August to October 2013, worked closely with ten young people, looking at issues such as sectarianism, stereotyping, racism, cultural awareness, community awareness, good relations and attitudes and beliefs.
Mr Glennon added: “The project helped raise awareness of these important issues and also increased the personal development, confidence and self-belief of the young people involved.”
The participants worked on a graffiti art project facilitated by Re-ink Our Nation, designed to create a positive message for the young people of the area and filmed by BNL Productions. They have designed a new mural on the theme of ‘Skate not Hate’ which will be unveiled at the skate park on October 30.
Carrickfergus Mayor, Alderman Billy Ashe said the work of those involved in the project would inspire other young people.
He added: “The skate park had been the target of vandalism and this mural is about the young people reclaiming it and addressing the problems of anti-social behaviour.
“We have seen that when young people come together in large numbers to enjoy their favourite pursuits such as skate-boarding, bmxing, street music and dance, sectarian and racist prejudices are forgotten.”
The project was funded by the Mapping Meaningful Solutions Programme, supported by the EU PEACE III Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body and delivered locally through the CAN PEACE III Partnership across Carrickfergus, Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Councils, it was also supported by Carrickfergus Borough Council Good Relations Office. The Mapping Meaningful Solutions Programme has also funded the ‘Urban Expo’ event.
Beverley Todd, manager of the Mapping Meaningful Solutions Programme said: “The MMS Programme has actively supported communities affected by community tension and difference to develop and participate in appropriate peace building activities. The young people involved in this programme have challenged the issues of anti-social behaviour, sectarianism and negative graffiti previously evident around the skate park and have embraced difference, working together to create something spectacular in their art work. The Urban Expo event will be a celebration and showcase of their hard work throughout the programme and is well deserved.”
The October 30 event is open to the public and will give young people and families the opportunity to try out urban sports delivered by the T13 team through taster workshops.