Young people engaging in successful Bytes initiative

Young people have been engaging with the Peace Bytes programme.
Young people have been engaging with the Peace Bytes programme.

Over the last 18 months, the Peace Bytes programme in Antrim and Newtownabbey has been working with young people from across the borough.

Now in its second year, the programme run by The Bytes Project, has engaged with hundreds of young people.

Peace Bytes is a PEACE IV funded programme, focusing on good relations, personal development and citizenship. Participants spend 30 weeks working with staff from Bytes, completing OCN qualifications, engaging in cross-community focused activities and participating in activities and trips.

Every group designs, plans and completes a ‘social action project’ in its immediate community. These usually revolve around issues that are important to the young people involved, as well as what they think will benefit their community as a whole.

Recently, young people from Edmund Rice College have been working on creating a new ‘sensory room’ for their peers, with equipment and materials provided by local businesses.

Recognition of Peace Bytes’ work came recently, when the programme won the Jean Gordon Award for Business and Educational Links at Glengormley High.

After collecting the award, Mark Clegg, who co-ordinates Peace Bytes in the borough, said: “This is recognition of all the hard work the team have been doing across Newtownabbey. We’re delighted to have received it and I am proud of our staff and young people and the work they have done.”

In the coming months, a new cohort of young people will continue their work with Peace Bytes.

Weekly sessions towards OCN qualifications, cross-community and good relations activities and external trips will form the core of their engagement, alongside each group’s community social action project.

If the positive trends of the last year continue, organisers expect to have yet another successful group of young people move on with new skills, qualifications, friendships and experiences in a few months’ time.

For more information about Bytes Project programmes, visit www.thebytesproject.com