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Mayor pays tribute to inspirational local young people

14 July 2021

The Mayor of Derry and Strabane, Alderman Graham Warke, paid tribute this week to some enterprising local young people who have been making a difference in communities across the City and District.

The young people are the successful participants in Council's first Participatory Budgeting (PB) scheme – and the first PB initiative of its kind to be led exclusively by young people in N. Ireland. The project was delivered by Council working in partnership with Carnegie UK Trust as part of its Embedding Wellbeing in NI Project, with £20,000 allocated to support a range of community led initiatives across Derry and Strabane.

The process was entirely youth led and the projects completely youth focused, under the guidance of a Youth Making it Happen Co-design panel, who were responsible for setting up the online selection process for local school, youth and community groups.

After navigating a few unavoidable setbacks and delays due to Covid19, 18 projects were selected by young people by online vote, with each group receiving between £500 and £1,000 to deliver a positive youth focused initiative in Local Community Partnership areas. The ideas ranged from the provision of new sports equipment to the delivery of youth focused events – anything that could make a positive impact on the lives of local young people.

The successful entrants gathered at the Jon Clifford Bull Park to view one of the projects, the upgrading of the Basketball Court which has been newly lined out and the nets repaired. The Mayor presented the participants with certificates and said he was delighted to see local young people playing an active role in local decision making.

"I'm delighted to have this chance to acknowledge the fantastic work that has gone into all the projects being delivered under the Youth Making It Happen PB scheme.

"I want to particularly thank the Youth Making It Happen panel for all their work to make this project a success, I hope their example will inspire other young people to get involved in similar initiatives.

"Young people have a vital role to play in bringing about positive change right across the City and District and that's one of the key priorities set out in the Strategic Growth Plan for the Council area. As Mayor I'm really keen to hear the views of local young people and to ensure they have a say in the decisions that are being made here. During my time in office I will do my best to create more opportunities for young people to contribute and have their voice heard."

Foyle Down Syndrome Trust, which is the Mayor's chosen charity this year, was just one of the many groups who got involved. Connor McGilloway said the experience had been an extremely rewarding one for the group. "It was brilliant to be involved in the YMIH competition. It really empowered our group and encouraged them to get involved in the decision making process. They really loved taking part in the process and we were able to use the funding to provide new equipment which we are now already using it on a daily basis. It was fantastic to be able to take part and we would love to be able to do it again."

You can find out more about all the successful projects at growderrystrabane.com