Teenagers focus on rural development

The young people from South Antrim, including five from rural areas of Newtownabbey, pictured during their trip to Finland. INNT 33-503CON
The young people from South Antrim, including five from rural areas of Newtownabbey, pictured during their trip to Finland. INNT 33-503CON

Five teens from Newtownabbey were among a group of 10 young people from South Antrim who got snap happy in Scandinavia last week.

Christopher McNeilly, Jaimie McCowan, Laura Patterson, Victoria Coulter and Samantha Turkington made links with our European neighbours from France, Finland and Estonia during the visit to Finland to learn all about nature and photography.

Thanks to funding from GROW South Antrim, the group of young people from rural areas of Antrim, Carrick and Newtownabbey travelled to Kullaa, western Finland, to broaden their horizons and meet other young Europeans involved in the Rural Development Programme.

The theme of the workshop was nature and photography, and the group stayed at the Kullaa School of Forestry, getting back to nature and improving their photography skills.

From visiting farms, beaches and exploring the local area, to hiking into the forest, camping and canoeing, the group had the opportunity to make friends from Finland, France and Estonia while trying new pursuits such as church boat rowing and fishing.

“The workshop was all about getting to know our rural European neighbours, interacting and getting involved in future rural development projects. The visit encouraged the young people from rural South Antrim to take a look at the nature around them and learn how to take pictures and edit their photos. Their photos created a slideshow on the final day of the Finnish visit,” a GROW spokesperson explained.

The NI Rural Development Programme 2007-2013 has supported projects across Northern Ireland to stimulate the local rural economy, develop villages and rural tourism, preserve heritage and increase and improve the services for people living and working in rural areas.

Next year GROW South Antrim will be looking for more 14 - 17 year olds from rural parts of Antrim, Carrickfergus and Newtownabbey to visit Estonia to take part in a dance and local culture workshop.

For more information about GROW South Antrim telephone Sara Thompson on 028 9446 3113 or email sara.thompson@antrim.gov.uk