Lottery boost for local Women’s Aid project

A PROJECT supporting young people in the Newtownabbey area who have dropped out of education because their lives have been affected by domestic violence has received a funding boost from the Big Lottery Fund.

Women’s Aid has been awarded a grant of £499,997 from the Big Lottery Fund’s Reaching Out: Empowering Young People programme, which supports young people across Northern Ireland.

The organisation, which recently opened a Safe Haven Garden for children and young people, has been awarded £499,997 to run training programmes, tutoring sessions and mentoring support at its centres in Newtownabbey, Larne, Carrickfergus, Antrim and Ballymena for young people whose experience of domestic violence has caused them to underachieve at school or leave education.

The support services will help to boost the young people’s self esteem, educate them about healthy relationships and bullying and provide them with teaching and training so they can return to education or go on to find jobs.

“Living in a home where there is violence has a huge impact on a young person’s education,” explained Area Manager Rosemary Magill. “Often children are kept at home in order to protect their mother, or the mum is not able to walk them to school because she has been hurt, so they end up missing lots of school or dropping out.

“This project is about improving the opportunities of young people in the Newtownabbey area and across Northern Ireland, opportunities which have been taken from them because they have had to deal with the threat of domestic violence.”

Frank Hewitt, Big Lottery Fund NI Chairman, added: “The Empowering Young People programme is supporting a range of vital projects that are transforming the lives of isolated young people in our communities who are at risk of crime or have dropped out of school, are not in education or employment, or are living with disabilities or the impact of violence. Our funding is supporting those young people who need our help the most.”

For more information about the Reaching Out programme log on to www.biglotteryfund.org.uk