The Churches Trust celebrated four years of their flagship youth project ‘Community of Homes’ with the launch of a very colourful ‘Creativity and Wellbeing’ book.
The book depicts the wonderful work of the young people involved and showing how creative pathways contributed to personal development in what has been trying times over the past 18 months.
Held at St. Columb’s Park House, the Mayor, Graham Warke, representatives from Department for Communities, Derry and Strabane District Council, local community groups and schools who took part, all listened intently as Churches Trust CEO, Fiona Fagan praised the young people who took part in the project and described the four-year journey as ‘one that has been enriching for all involved.’
‘This successful programme of creativity and well-being is a celebration of four years of hard work by these young people, especially through the difficult Covid period. It is also a testament to their resilience as we, hopefully, come out of the pandemic and see brighter days ahead,’ commented Ms Fagan.
The project was funded by Department for Communities within their ‘Uniting Communities’ programme which funds projects that promote good relations and reconciliation through sports and creativity by addressing barriers to community participation. Churches Trust worked in collaboration with The Art Smyth, Ardnashee School and College, St. Joseph’s Boys School, and Lisneal and St. Mary’s Colleges.
The celebratory event was funded by the Northern Ireland Community Relations Council through the Community Relations and Cultural Diversity grants programme. Fiona also thanked core funders Community Relations Council, Derry City and Strabane District Council, and Inner City Trust.
Speaking after last week’s event, Kathryn Hill, Director of Active Communities in the Department for Communities commented: “I was delighted to have been invited along today to join in celebrating the launch of the Churches Trust’s Community of Homes, Creativity and Wellbeing book.
“The Department has funded the Community of Homes project in recent years through our Together: Building a United Community Uniting Opportunities grant scheme, a good relations programme delivered through the medium of sport, physical and creative activity.
“This project has engaged young people in a unique range of creative activities that bring communities together, addresses barriers to participation and increases social skills.
“I want to thank Fiona and the Churches Trust for successfully delivering this project and most importantly the young people that have taken part.”
Wednesday’s book launch also included the showcasing of seven youth projects involving over 120 young people each year from local schools, churches and communities.
Many of the youth projects are structured using the creative pathways: all projects are underpinned by good relations, personal development and skills development.
Projects range from ongoing one-to-one mentoring programmes to summer camps, to small groups working on themed ad hoc projects and to larger groups who engage in three-six month programmes.
Speakers at the event included the Mayor, Graham Warke; Kathryn Hill, Department for Communities, artist Sinead Smyth, Faustina Starrett, North West Regional College, and the Churches Trust’s own Catherine Coyle who delivered an address on some of the other youth projects.