Stansted youngsters keep in touch via Facebook after exchange trip to Belfast

PUBLISHED: 10:34 03 October 2009 | UPDATED: 07:23 30 May 2010

YOUNG people from Stansted Youth Centre have returned from a unique exchange programme with Corpus Christi Youth Centre in the Ballymurphy region of Belfast. Eight youngsters took part in the five-day trip to Belfast and the Antrim Coast which was aimed a

YOUNG people from Stansted Youth Centre have returned from a unique exchange programme with Corpus Christi Youth Centre in the Ballymurphy region of Belfast.

Eight youngsters took part in the five-day trip to Belfast and the Antrim Coast which was aimed at broadening their horizons and increasing their understanding of young people in other parts of the UK.

The trip included a visit to Stormont, Crumlin Gaol, The Republican Museum and the Peace Wall and murals.

The group also took part in a Youth Fringe debate along with the Mayor of Belfast, the Chief of Police for Northern Ireland, Head of Youth Service for Northern Ireland and MPs from two of the main political parties in Northern Ireland.

Adam Park, one of the young people to have benefited from the exchange said: "It's been a real eye opener. I learned so much about people's lives and found it quite emotional at times."

Another group from the Dunmow Youth Centre will go out in October, this time linking with the Streetbeat Youth Centre from the Shankill Road area of Belfast.

Both groups will meet up again in April 2010 when young people from the Belfast Youth Centres will come over to Dunmow and Stansted. In the meantime the groups are keeping in touch via email and facebook.

The teenagers worked hard to raise the funds for the trip themselves and the project was supported by grants from the Youth Opportunity Fund and the Hanningfield Awards.

Essex County Council's Cabinet Member for Education, cllr Stephen Castle, said: "This trip has helped to foster a greater understanding of the history, culture and people of Belfast for the young people involved.

"Many friendships have been formed and we very much look forward to welcoming the young people from Belfast to Essex next year.


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