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Futures Project shines a light on support available to young people

Futures Project is an EU PEACE IV project, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body, that works with local young people aged 16-24 at risk of becoming excluded from educational or economic opportunities.

Belfast Met has been leading on Futures Project since 2018, in partnership with Start360, Housing Executive and Southern Regional College. Futures has provided personal development opportunities for over 470 disengaged young people across Northern Ireland by helping them to gain new skills and become more aware of diversity and good relations in Northern Ireland, so they can take up active roles in their local communities.

Damian Duffy, Director of Development at Belfast Metropolitan College said: “Futures Project reflects the College’s strategy of contributing to a thriving economy while supporting the active inclusion of young people who face particular challenges or require additional support. Futures ensures that participating young people develop their potential and access opportunities to contribute to the continued economic success and social wellbeing of the city and wider region.”

Tara Pouryahya graduated in May 2020 and is now a Futures Ambassador acting as a peer mentor to new participants. Tara had lost confidence in herself and her own ability when she was referred to Futures. She talks about the support she received, “Having one-to-one support with Futures staff was great, I always felt so comfortable going in, and genuinely looked forward to my one-to-one appointments. Mentoring gave me a safe space to discuss previous traumatic experiences and find ways to make my everyday life easier.

“Futures gave me support and gave me something to be passionate about. I found ways to utilise my creativity and my voice. Being seen and cared for really helped me feel more confident in myself."

"The best things about the project were the support and opportunities available. I was kept informed of any courses that I could take part in, and felt I could have an open conversation about new skills that I’d like to learn."

"At Futures you’ll be supported through every step of the way, whether you are struggling with course work, or personally, the facilitators will go out of their way to find something that works for you."

Jamie Maze, Futures Project Manager at Belfast Metropolitan College confirmed: “This youth project has empowered young people to transform their lives and the communities they live in, regardless of their backgrounds and life circumstances which have acted as barriers in the past. The participants have been given the support they need to build their self-confidence, as well as invaluable tools to set goals and take the steps to achieve their full potential.”

Tara is one example of the many incredible young people given a second chance through Futures to discover and shape their future. She has gone on to study an online course in Neuro-Biology, and is applying for University to study medicine in 2021.

Futures is currently operating online and is recruiting for September 2020. To find out more about joining, please contact us via email [email protected]

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