The Children of Ireland Group
P. O. Box 13241, Tallahassee, Florida 32317
Telephone: (850) 562-6466 Ext. 3307

Email: terry@thetrakker.com
A 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization

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00-07 Request

The following information was provided by the director of the Upper Springfield Youth Network on their request:

Background

The Upper Springfield area, with a population of some 11500.00 people lies along the slopes of the Black Mountain, over looking the whole of West Belfast. This community is made up of seven large housing estates and suffers from high levels of unemployment and poverty and has long been acknowledged as an area of severe disadvantage.

It has suffered greatly from thirty years of political conflict and for most of that time has been at the epicenter of Northern Irelandís conflict. Upper Springfield as a distinct community has experienced a lot of hardship over the years. The unemployment and poverty related issues have been exacerbated by the "Troubles" and the community also faces growing problems of crime, anti-social behaviour and an uncommonly high suicide rate amongst young people. In the period between January 1997 and December 1999 a total of 11 young people committed suicide. 

A recent audit of all the local Community Projects and Youth Workers highlighted the wide range of issues facing young people, the serious lack of service provision and a lack of financial support actually available to community workers to help address those issues. From an estimated figure of around 5000 young people under 25 years less than 1000 actually used existing Youth Centre facilities, most preferring to stay on street corners. This ultimately has brought many young people into conflict with the local community, through their often boisterous or criminal behaviours. Some have become victims of both formal and informal justice systems, further alienating them. Many of those young people who donít avail of existing provision remained unresponsive to conventional sanctions and methods and unwilling and unmotivated to attend programmes.

With this background in mind, a number of Youth Projects were created in 1997 by the Upper Springfield Development Trust with financial support from European Funding to focus on reaching the most marginalised, alienated and damaged young people in the area. A team of Detached Youth Workers and Outdoor Pursuits Instructors began the task of re-motivating and encouraging their participation in a street based programme of exiting and challenging activities, taking them away from the street corners, developing trusting relationships with adults and involving them in giving something positive back to their communities through small personal projects.

A huge success the Project won the respect of the entire community and was publicly demonstrated sadly by the many thousands of tributes from young people paid to the Team Leader Terry Enright who was murdered by sectarian gangs in 1998. The Project continued to engage young people and continued with itís cross community work until funding finished in December 1999. Most of the equipment and resources remained with the Trust.

The Upper Springfield Youth Network (Ogra Chun Tosaigh) was formed in 1998, by local Community Groups. It is managed and directed by key individuals from all fourteen Projects and Centerís, and is by design and innovative and dynamic initiative, encouraging real working partnerships and effective resourcing between groups. It includes voluntary and statutory participation.

The Network (Ogra Chun Tosaigh) employs a Development Worker & Administrator and has just recently received short term funding to re-employ 2 young Outdoor Pursuits Instructors and 1 Detached Worker. Following a series of meetings with the Director of the Upper Springfield Development Trust, the Network has secured the extensive range of outdoor equipment, storage facilities and a mini-bus and has embarked once again on delivering a diverse range of activities and social awareness programmes to young people, local Schools, including local Irish speaking Schools and Youth Groups.

The current programme which began in August 2000, was effected badly by several thefts from the storage facility which resulted in some of the most essential equipment, camping gear, archery items and climbing ropes being taken. The Project cannot replace this equipment and has not as yet been able to find funding to replenish the store. The programme which is on a probationary period of three months has been seriously effected due to the loss of this equipment, which prevents us from involving up to 100 young people per month on the International Achievers Award and reaching over 350 each month on daily programmes.

In this regard the Network (Ogra Chun Tosaigh) desperately seeks financial support for equipment resources to permit it to continue delivering its programmes to children and young people in the Upper Springfield area. I have provided some additional information on Ogra Chun Tosaigh and a breakdown of equipment needed and costings from reputable suppliers. Also included are some photographs of young people enjoying activities over the past three years.

Any assistance or support given to the Project would be very much appreciated.

If further information is required please do not hesitate to contact me at the above number or e-mail address. Thanks for your time.

Signed by the executive director of this community center

- --------------------------------------------------

Breakdown Of Costs:

Equipment Needs:

Type:

No:

Cost:

Dealer:

Total:

Troll ABS Granite Climbing Harnesses

15

£40.00

Tiso

£600.00

Wild Rover Summit 3 Sleeping Bags

10

£60.00

Tiso

£600.00

Trangia 27 or 25

5

£45.00

Tiso

£225.00

Silva Type 4 Compass

10

£25.00

Tiso

£250.00

Life Systems First Aid Kit (M/L)

2

£40.00

Tiso

£80.00

Edelrid Prostatic Abseil Rope

50 x 11

2

£70.00

Tiso

£140.00

Edelrid Ultralight Climbing Helmet

10

£40.00

Tiso

£400.00

Camping Gaz P2 Lantern Lumastar

2

£30.00

Tiso

£60.00

Salopettes Mountain Hardware: Ascent

4

£130.00

Tiso

£520.00

Porrelle Dry Socks

4

£30.00

Tiso

£120.00

Junior Buoyance Aids. Crewsaver Junior Euro

10

£40.00

Tiso

£400.00

Brasher Classic Hillwalking Boots

4

£85.00

Tiso

£340.00

Berghaus Spectram Fleece Jackets

20

£50.00

Tiso

£1000.00

Vango Mark 4 Tents

4

£275.00

Tiso

£1100.00

Montane Extreme Smock

4

£125.00

Tiso

£500.00

Total

     

£6335.00

 
The following information is a summary of what community centers participate in the Upper Springfield Youth Network and the number of volunteers each community center provides for the Network's success. A very nice news article is at the end indicating the success of the program, to date.

(1) = Ballymurphy Estate 1
Springhill 2
Westrock/Whiterock 3
Moyard 4
New Barnsley 5
Dermott Hill 6
Turf Lodge 7

Members of Ogra Chun Tosaigh:
Rock Activity Group (3)
Westrock Parent Youth Group (3)
Springhill Youth Project (2)
Corpus Christi Youth Club (1)
Access Project (1)
Ballymurphy Womenís Project (1)
Matt Talbot Youth Club (4)
Newhill Youth Centre (5/6)
Ardmonagh Youth Centre (7)
Holy Trinity Youth Centre (7)
Upper Springfield Community Restorative Justice (1-7)
An Club Eachtra (1-7)
Upper Springfield Disability Project (1-7)
Upper Springfield Development Trust (1-7)

 

 
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