With the collapse of the Stormont Assembly prompting fresh elections and talks, Northern Ireland’s leading youth organisations formed a united voice to influence decision makers on the key issues facing young people.
Network for Youth, which aimed to give all young people a greater say on the issues that affect them, was led by the Northern Ireland Youth Forum (NIYF), in partnership with Youth Action NI, Fóram na nÓg, Include Youth, Young Farmers Clubs of Ulster and the Education Authority.
Backed by the Department of Education and funded by the Education Authority, the project brings together young people from different backgrounds and communities of interest, to create opportunities to bring about change.
NIYF Director Chris Quinn said: “Since the fall of Stormont, Network for Youth has become even more important as a vehicle to provide young people with platforms at local and regional levels to raise and discuss issues of importance to them.”
NIYF Chairperson Tara Grace Connelly said, “As a young person myself I am determined to see this project create a strong unified front of youth work that will promote and influence policies at the highest levels of government. The recent problems at the heart of the Stormont Executive make it all the more important for young people to be given the opportunity to provide a positive voice in Northern Ireland.”
Network for Youth is a key action in Priorities for Youth, the Department of Education’s policy for improving young people in Northern Ireland’s lives through youth work.
Its purpose is to strengthen participation at all levels of the NI youth service. It aims to encourage young people to discuss issues of interest, connect pockets of good practice, build on existing relationships between the voluntary youth work sector, the Department of Education and the Education Authority; and provide young people with a voice within EA’s policy making process, and beyond.