Young people is rural village communities in south County Down are gaining skills and building connections, thanks to grants from the Big Lottery Fund.
Ardglass Development Association is among five groups in south Down sharing in £41,701 grants from Awards for All. It is part of a Big Lottery Fund grants windfall of £769,369 to 91 groups across Northern Ireland (see full list of awards).
Ardglass Development Association provides activities, play schemes, and training courses for the community. They are using the £9,999 for their Community Heritage Computer Summer Scheme – Helping Teenagers Volunteer project. The project involves engaging young people in Ardglass in publishing historical photographs of Ardglass people and places on social media, and developing the new community website with a historical timeline of Ardglass up to the present day.
They are also developing a mobile app to pair with a walking trail around Ardglass, for use by locals and tourists. ADA are training two young people to work on the photo archive and providing European Computer Driving Licence courses for 36 young people at the adult computer literacy centre.
Committee member Aeden Mackel said there is a shortage of activities in the area, particularly for teenagers, so this project provides a much needed activity to get young people engaged in their community.
“Most young people are not aware of the heritage and tourism potential of the village and its surrounding area, said Aeden. “The Awards for All funded project is bringing generations together using technology in a way that’s accessible to everyone, and reviving a sense of ‘pride of place’ in Ardglass.”
Aisling Toal (21) is one of the young people who benefitted from the photo archive training. She spent her summer holidays overseeing the Community Heritage scheme online and at the Ardglass Tourism and Maritime Heritage Centre, helping with displays of old photos of people, places and the seven castles of Ardglass.
“I have loved working in the centre over the summer. People love the old photos here and the photos on the Facebook site. What I have learned about the village and its history has been great, and the contacts I’ve made through the council and the other community organisations has been brilliant. I hope to get involved with it again in the future,” Aisling said.