Belfast young people excel in new project showcasing entrepreneurial skills

A group of inspirational young people in Belfast have been hailed by youth workers after completing an award-winning creative entrepreneurship programme.

The Agency enables young people to create lasting change in their community and New Lodge Arts and Ashton recently partnered up with the programme, bringing the experience and expertise to young people aged 15-25 in Belfast.

Speaking to Belfast Live, Orla Hawkins who works as the project coordinator of the programme, said she has been filled with pride, as she's watched the group grow over the weeks, prove their abilities, and make friends for life.

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"The programme started on Saturday 16th September when our 18 young participants began to meet twice a week for 12 weeks in order to create a project/business ideas using a creative, theatre-based methodology.

"All of these ideas had to involve some sort of social action and giving back to their community and the ideas the young people came up with were amazing, we were blown away.

"On the twelfth week of the programme, the young people had to pitch their idea to a panel of experts and on panel day, we had all 18 participants pitch, which was an amazing achievement for everyone to be involved with."

Orla says the panel was overwhelmed with the project ideas and how they were presented to them, and that their job to chose three projects to fund, was a tough one.

"The three projects chosen in the end to receive the funding were Abi Flannagan’s ‘From Seed 2 Plate’ Project (with Aoife Teer Supporting and Tp Ward producing), Sophie Rossbotham’s ‘Rise Above the Ashes’ project (with Grace Rogan supporting and Matt Faris producing) and finally a joint project with Maggie and Natalia called ‘New Heights’ (with Amy Smyth producing).

"The young people successfully delivered their projects, recruiting young people from communities across North Belfast as their participants. The three funded projects provided such a range of activities for young people to be involved in from hiking and gardening to journaling and drama workshops.

"New Lodge Arts were delighted and proud to deliver The Agency Programme in Belfast because the programme totally aligns with our belief that young people should be at the centre of social change, mobilised around the social issues they care about.

"As a community-based organisation, delivering on the ground in North Belfast, we are excited to see the creative and innovative projects that our young people will design and deliver, and the positive impacts their projects will make to their areas.

"Being part of a national network like The Agency amplifies the voices and ideas of young people, creating a collective force for systematic change.

"We are currently recruiting for The Agency Belfast 2024-25, starting in September 2024, so if anyone is interested, please get in touch with New Lodge Arts for more information."

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