Following the recent closure of their 2020 grant application programme, cross-community charity Hope for Youth NI is celebrating a significant milestone, having supported over 450 youth-oriented projects in Northern Ireland during its 47-year history. The charity, formerly known as the Women Caring Trust, was founded in 1972 and provides valuable funding to a range of projects which are geared toward young people with the hope of inspiring skills development, relationship building and creativity in a safe environment.
Each year, the charity encourages local youth-orientated organisations to apply for much-needed funding to help support their initiatives which span across the fields of music, art, drama and the great outdoors. This year, Castlederg-based Creative Arts and Social Team C.I.C (CAST), which caters for individuals aged from 4 years upwards and strives to nurture each individual, encouraging them to build their self-esteem through the medium of drama, music and performance and making arts accessible to all, has been named as a recipient of much-needed funds from the group, having been acknowledged for their is all-inclusive approach and work done to provide a platform for individuals to build confidence, feel valued, improve their health and well-being, develop new friendships and move forward in a new and positive direction.
In addition to a ‘positive mindset workshop’ hosted in June with West End star Sophie Issacs which tackled issues pertaining to challenges faced by teenagers, the group of over 40 teenagers has also written, produced and recorded a song and music video which aims to shine a light on teenage mental health and insecurities faced by many teens across Northern Ireland and further afield. The music video, produced using funds from Hope For Youth, officially launched in line with Mental Health Awareness Week.
“Hope for Youth’s grant has given the young people in this area a voice to speak out about how it feels to be a teenager in these modern times,” said Rois Kelly-Lynch, Director CAST. Social media has had a huge impact on their lives - both positively and negatively. Writing a song and creating a music video has given them the confidence to express themselves and tackle their insecurities and issues head-on. Hope for Youth’s contribution to this project has been immeasurable.”
To generate the funds dispersed annually by Hope For Youth, the charity hosts a series of fundraising events each year. These efforts culminate in the biennial House of Lords v House of Commons Speedo Charity Swim and Gala Dinner, sponsored by Speedo, which is set to take place this year on Thursday 21st November in London’s Porchester Hall. The event will include swimming representatives from the Houses of Lords and Commons going head-to-head alongside well-known competitive swimmers from the Speedo brand team in a friendly rivalry to raise awareness and funds for Hope for Youth’s good work.
Reflecting on the charity’s work over the years, Hope for Youth NI Chairman Noel Lamb said, “It’s a real pleasure to be a part of Hope For Youth and to support projects which have helped foster community development across Northern Ireland.
“It’s so rewarding to see how we, as a whole community, are embracing diversity, whether it be differing ethnicities or religious backgrounds. Building inter-community relationships is a contributor in building a positive and peaceful future for Northern Ireland. We are incredibly grateful to Speedo for its continued support of our charity Swim and look forward to welcoming both participants and guests for what will be an excellent event in raising funds for Hope for Youth in November.”