A celebration of OUR Generation

OUR Generation marked its official closure event on Thursday 25th May 2023.

Children and young people, staff, and funders, all came together to celebrate the project at La Mon Hotel & Country Club.

OUR Generation Project Manager, Carol Scullion, welcomed attendees and introduced the event, which was attended by over 220 people, and also saw the official release of the OUR Generation Project Impact Report.

Irish Minister of State for Rural and Community Development (DRCD) Joe O’Brien, recorded a special video message which was played as the opening address.

Interim Director of Joint Secretariat, Helen Donaldson, from the Special EU Programmes body (SEUPB) attended and gave a short speech followed by Gareth Johnston, Deputy Secretary for Good Relations and Inclusion within the Executive Office, Northern Ireland.

Throughout the day there were presentations, including videos, music and art, from project partners, and children and young people who had taken part in OUR Generation programmes.

There was a performance from members of Destined and the Bluestack Special Needs Foundation choir who were brought together by Co-operation Ireland, as well as music from ‘Ciarzo and the Ephades’ from Donegal Youth Service, and Rhiannon Crilly from Youth Action NI.

A mural created by members of North Belfast Area Project (NBAP) and East Belfast Area Project (EBAP) with Blaze FX, facilitated by project workers from lead partner Action Mental Health, was created and unveiled, especially for the event.

Pupils from primary and secondary schools across Northern Ireland and the border regions of Ireland attended the celebration, including Scoil Cholmcille (Letterkenny)  Ursuline College (Sligo), Pobalscoil Ghaoth Dobhair (Donegal) St. Joseph’s College (Belfast) St. Mary’s College (Derry/L~derry), Christ the Redeemer Primary School (Belfast, Colin Urban Village Area) and Elmgrove Primary school (Belfast, Eastside Urban Village Area).

Members of the OUR Generation Children & Young People’s Advisory Group also attended the event as well as young people from the following youth groups: St. Patrick’s Youth Club, Keady, REACT Armagh, St. Oliver Plunkett, Youth Club, Crossmaglen and YouthAction’s Rainbow Factory.

At the afternoon session, attendees heard from David Babington, Chief Executive of Action Mental Health, followed by Mental Health Champion for Northern Ireland, Prof. Siobhan O’Neill of Ulster University, who delivered the closing remarks.

Over the past three years, OUR Generation has collaborated with existing community–based initiatives to offer accessible, age-appropriate prevention, early intervention and recovery activities. The project has also supported meaningful cross-border relationships and built on the good relations focus of the Urban Villages Initiative. OUR Generation has now reached over 48,000 children, young people and the adults who support them and will run until 29th Sept 2023.

Reflecting on the importance of the OUR Generation project, DRCD Minster Joe O Brien TD, said: “I would like to congratulate all those involved in the design, delivery and successful implementation of the “OUR Generation” project which was funded under the EU PEACE IV Programme, led by Action Mental Health, in partnership with Donegal Youth Service, Co-Operation Ireland, Youth Action NI, Youth Work Ireland, Play Board and Ulster University.

“I am delighted that my Department of Rural and Community Development was able to provide funding and support for this very important and meaningful project, and that it has fulfilled its aims to build positive relations and emotional resilience in communities impacted by four decades of the Troubles.

“We are dedicated to creating a shared and bright future for everybody, and this project encouraged greater levels of cross-community and cross border contact and intercultural awareness, which will help to build a more peaceful and cohesive society for future generations.”

Denis McMahon, Permanent Secretary in the Executive Office, congratulated everyone involved in the OUR Generation project, commenting: “The Executive Office is delighted to have been involved in the delivery of this fantastic programme through the Urban Villages Initiative. OUR Generation has built on and supported local Urban Villages projects, strengthening community-based services and enabling communities to tackle post-conflict peace building and mental health issues. It has encouraged greater levels of cross-community contact and intercultural awareness, which will help to build a more peaceful and cohesive society. Thank you to everyone involved.”

Gina McIntyre, Chief Executive of the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB), said:

“The future of this region will be shaped by our greatest asset, our children and young people. The OUR Generation project is a shining beacon of how best practice can support future generations to be agents of change and contribute to a lasting peace.

“Each of us has a responsibility to ensure children and young people grow up in an environment where good mental health and wellbeing is central to their lives. This PEACE IV project is helping to create unique opportunities to build resilience and halt the impact of intergenerational trauma, which is a consequence of our shared history.”

Click the video slideshow below for more pics!↓

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This project is supported the European Union's PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB)

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