Our Northern Ireland Director, Joanne McDowell, attended a visit on Monday to Banbridge Neighbourhood Policing Team.

Their Tollymore Outdoor Challenge project had recently secured a grant of £7,355 through Awards for All. 

The project aim is to raise awareness of anti-social behaviour, to highlight and educate the consequences of anti-social behaviour and rewards of hard work, and to promote community relations between police and young people. 

A selection of teenage pupils across four local secondary schools;Banbridge Academy, Banbridge High School, St Patrick’s High School and New-Bridge Integrated College will undertake a series of team building exercises. 

The project started in April and running over the next few months will see the young people take part in physical and mental challenges as well as discussing anti-social behaviour and how it affects them on a personal level but also the effect this behaviour can have on other people. 

Phase one has been successfully completed, which took place over two days with 30 pupils attending each day at Tollymore Forest Park.  Phase two consisted of a hill walk over the course of a day.  Six pupils from each group were then selected to progress onto phase three, a two day residential focusing on command and leadership. 

The last phase of the project will see two pupils from each school move onto a weeklong residential course.  The young people will be attending an award evening in June to bring the challenge to a close. 

Joanne McDowell, NI Director, said: “It was great to visit such a worthwhile project that is improving the lives of young people in the Banbridge area. 

“I’d like to express my thanks to the project for organising such a good visit.  Projects such as this show that small grants from the Awards for All programme can make such a big difference in local communities”. 

Constable Pete Stevenson, Banbridge Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “The Tollymore Outdoor Challenge has been a fantastic opportunity for our project to engage with young people from the Banbridge area who come from a wide range of social backgrounds. 

“It is important for Police to get to know the youths within the communities we serve and for them to get to know and trust us.  This project has given the team the opportunity to discuss some key issues with a group of teenagers which under normal circumstances may not have happened. 

“I hope that the youths involved in the challenge will learn about anti-social behaviour and the wider social issues it causes, we have also been promoting the merits of hard work and the rewards this can bring.” 

Anna, one of the young people involved in The Tollymore Outdoor Challenge, said:  “Since I started the Tollymore Outdoor Challenge I have made new friends that I will keep in contact with, this is normally very hard for me.  I’m now more interested in sports and it seems like something I’d want to get into.  I now have a clearer view of the Police and about drugs.  I have learnt a lot and would tell anyone to attend this event.”


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