Young people living in the Derry City and Strabane District Council area have just two days left to apply to The Change Something Fund.
A total of £100,000 is available through grants of £200 to £3000 for young people aged 13 -24 living who want to change something in their community. The programme is being managed by the Community Foundation for Northern Ireland’s Acorn Fund and is funded by Big Lottery Fund and Derry and Strabane District Council.
The deadline to apply is 5pm this Wednesday (7th November 2018) and young people will need the support of a host organisation like a community group, a school or a club to apply.
Tina Curtis (17) is a young woman who is making positive changes in her community and in her own life. She has turned the page on her past anti-social behaviour and credits the support of a National Lottery funded youth project that is helping her to make the changes she wants.
After leaving school, Tina started to get involved with anti-social behaviour, and got into trouble with the police. But meeting a youth worker from Off the Streets Community Youth one evening was a real breakthrough – and now she’s turned her life around and is helping to organise activities that are benefitting the whole community.
Following that conversation, she joined Off the Streets Community Youth’s FATE Project (Future Aspirations Transformed Everyday), which is supported with a Big Lottery Fund grant of £600,000. It offers young people in the Greater Shantallow area a safe place where they can meet up and get involved in activities that will help change things for both themselves and their community for the better.
Tina said: “I knew myself that I had to change and I thought I would like to bring something back to the community and work alongside Off the Street to help that.
“I felt nervous at the start, but then I thought it’s going to make a positive change to me and the community, so I felt relieved then.”
Tina got involved in the project’s mentoring programme, and from there she went on to the youth planning committee and do other skills development. The new skills that Tina is learning are improving her confidence, and this is spurring her on to help her community and to create a more positive perception of young people.
Earlier this year, Tina put her learning into action by helping to organise a family fun day event in Greater Shantallow to help bring the community together. It was a great success with more than 300 people turning up.
“It was really down to us. We had Off the Street to help us but we had to plan everything and publicise it. We all had our own individual roles, but we worked as a team, too,” Tina said.
The first family fun day was so popular that they’ve held others since, and each time the young people take on different roles on the day so everyone gets a chance to develop their skills.
Tina has now returned to education and is studying childcare at North West Regional College, something that she didn’t imagine happening last year.
Tina said: “My confidence has definitely been boosted. I wasn’t going to go back to education but they gave me the motivation to help me sign up for tech.”
She has recently started a leadership course, and being involved in the Tools group helps her to find out about training opportunities and other skills that go towards finding employment, such as CV writing.
Tina’s advice to any young person who wants to change is to join a youth group. She said: “If you have support, take it because it’s definitely going to change you.
“Now that I can see myself that I’m changing, other people can see that I’ve changed, too. It makes me feel like a better person.”
For more information and to apply visit: https://www.communityfoundationni.org/change-something-fund
If you have any questions or need support please contact:
Acorn Fund Grants Team on 028 9024 5927
Acorn Fund Officer Shauna Kelpie on 028 7137 1547 or firstname.lastname@example.org