Ten Young Ambassadors from Belfast visited Liverpool this week alongside world class athletes as part of the DfC Young Leaders training and Ambassadors programme. The visit was designed to provide them with an opportunity to experience first-hand how sport is used in one of the largest cities in the UK to help develop their skills and to improve their understanding of diversity.

The three day visit was led by elite athletes including British Taekwondo champion Henry Cookey, Paralympic swimmer Liz Johnson and European skateboard champion Neil Danns as well as youth leaders from PeacePlayers International NI. Liz said

I’ve been working closely with this group over the past nine months and it’s great to be able to take them from Belfast over to Liverpool to experience all that the city has to offer. The three days were packed full of activities and events that helped them gain more tools and skills to enable them to become leaders and ambassadors within their own communities.

On the first evening of the trip, the group visited the Squash Community Kitchen in the city centre. Here they learned all about the role of the cafe/kitchen within the local community and joined in a cooking lesson where the group made Humus, flat bread and tumeric shots!

  

Day Two started with getting to know some of the athletes involved in delivering programmes in the UK as well as meeting some of their peers who attended the Get on Track programme in Liverpool recently. Here they got to learn about issues facing each other's communities, develop plans to help tackle social issues affecting both communities - as well as getting out into the city to complete a town task.

   

Day three saw the group visiting Henry Cookey's Ninja Warror gym in Liverpool. While providing a bit of fun for the group, it also introduced themes around getting out of comfort zones, stretching yourself and srtiving to be the best you can be. Gary said:

The highlight for me was visiting the Ninja warrior gym - I really took away that you need to believe in yourself and never give up. Always set goals and have confidence in what you're doing. One thing I'm taking back is to get everyone motivated and to get up that wall like Henry taught me!

Nora also enjoyed the Ninja Warrior session:

I really enjoyed the Ninja gym. Even though it was mainly about having fun, it also proved to us that we could do some things that we didn't think we could.

  

Before heading back to the airport, the group visited Everton in the Community who have been at the forefront of social intervention across Merseyside since 1988. Everton in the Community offer a range of programmes covering a number of social issues including health, employability, anti-social behaviour, crime, education, dementia, poverty, youth engagement, youth justice and disability. This gave the young ambassadors a great opportunity to delve deeper into some of the issues surrounding youth in Liverpool and think about how these could relate to and assist their work back in Belfast. As they are based just round the corner from Everton Football Club, no trip would be complete without a visit to Goodison Park

 

Following that, it was back to the airport and time for the flight home, just leaving time for a few final thoughts on the trip and what they will be taking back to Belfast with them. Cathal said:

Everything that you do, it's all about working together when you're in groups like this. You need to work as a team, you can't do anything by yourself and you won't achieve anything without other people's help.

Nora added:

As a group, we developed a lot of skills throughout the trip, especially working as a team. When we go back to Belfast we're going to be stronger together, this trip has definitely motivated me to go back and 'kill it' on the 11-16 year old programme. I think we're just going to work better together, communicate our ideas and come up with a really great theme and programme for them


The Together: Building a United Community (T:BUC) ‘Uniting Communities through sport and creativity’ training programme aims to create a group of motivated, skilled and socially responsible young people who can drive forward positive change in their communities. 

You can follow the group's progress on our Twitter and Facebook pages.