The Breakthrough Programme is a new and exciting youth work programme for young people aged 14-24 years living in the Greater North Belfast, Shankill and Newtownabbey areas funded by the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme and managed by the Special European Union Programmes Body (SEUPB).

Led by Ashton Community Trust, the programme is delivered in partnership with Cliftonville Community Regeneration Forum (CCRF) New Life City church, YEHA Project, Street Beat, Newtownabbey Arts and Cultural Network (NACN), New Lodge Arts and Loughview Community Action Partnership (LCAP).

Young people taking part in the Breakthrough Programme have the opportunity to get involved in team building days, residentials, volunteering, one-to-one mentoring support and group work activities to include personal development, citizenship and good relations. In addition, young people also choose from a menu of training in the areas of Arts, Sports, Digital Imaging/Film Making, Music and Digital Fabrication and have the opportunity to showcase their amazing work.

Participants on the programme so far have enjoyed connecting with other young people and engaging in a range of activities and group work exploring issues that impact on them, building confidence, working as a team, cultural visits, diversity, goal setting, boxing and fitness, water sports, canoeing, problem solving and survival skills to name a few.

Whilst activities are facilitated by our experienced Youth Outreach Mentors based in our partner organisations and schools, young people involved are actively engaged in the design of the programme.  Breakthrough staff work in partnership with the young people starting from where they are to build a programme that meets their needs in a safe environment and are encouraged to develop life skills that matter, are adaptable, transferable and meaningful. One-to-one mentoring also provides a safe space to develop their own personal development plan to meet needs and provide any additional support that may be needed.  An incentive payment of £8 per day (subject to criteria) and childcare costs are available through the programme.

See what one of our participants has to say about being involved

“Hi my name is Niamh. I’m a 20-year-old mum of one. My daughter is 2 years old and is my wee pride and joy.

For the past year or so I have been focusing on the care of my daughter and making sure her upbringing is my one priority. Most lately I have been searching for something that I could get involved in and also integrating my daughter into some kind of crèche for her own development and to mix with other children which will support her when she goes onto nursery school.

My friend was telling me about a programme called Breakthrough, which is a youth lead programme for 16-24 years old in my local community. I got in contact with the local Mentor in the Cliftonville area and the signing up process was so easy. There are many benefits for someone like myself to get involved in the programme but the only hurdle that I really needed to overcome was to get childcare for my daughter. With the help and support of the mentor, I was able to gain a place for my daughter in Kinderkids, which is a local childcare facility, that the Breakthrough programme covered all costs, including travel. Other benefits for me was that while on the programme I was gaining £8 per day (up-to £40 per week) on top of my benefits and this money I am currently saving to bring my daughter away on holiday this summer.

The programme has allowed me to meet new people, start planning my future, challenge myself to overcome my fears and give me something to look forward to each week and I can’t wait to avail of all the workshops/sessions that are all coming up.

If you are like myself or even if you know someone who you think might be interest in the Breakthrough Programme I would defiantly recommend it to anybody”.

If you, or you know someone who would like more information or get involved in this exciting youth work programme, are aged 14-24 years and from any of the following areas: New Lodge, Woodvale, Shankill, Ardoyne, Cliftonville, Rathcoole, Mount Vernon and Shore Road areas, please get in touch.

Nuala McCallum

Operations Manager

164 Duncairn Gardens, Belfast BT15 2FF

Tel: +44 (0)28 90742255  |  Ext: 4117

Email: nuala.mcallum@ashtoncentre.com

Sean Breen

Programme Coordiantor

Tel: +44 (0)28 90742255  | Extension: 3510

Email: sean.breen@ashtoncentre.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/breakthroughbelfast/