18 young people from Belfast visited Liverpool this week alongside world class athletes as part of the Young Leaders training and Ambassadors programme. The visit was designed to provide the Young Leaders 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, Olympic swimmer Adam Whitehead and European skateboard champion Neil Danns as well as youth leaders from PeacePlayers International NI and Todd's Leap.

On the first full day, the group met with young people from Liverpool who have previously attended a Get on Track programme through the Trust. 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 have a little fun!

  

On the final day they visited Everton in the Community who have been at the forefront of social intervention across Merseyside since 1988. Everton in the Community offers 60 programmes covering a range of social issues including health, employability, anti-social behaviour, crime, education, dementia, poverty, youth engagement, youth justice and disability. This gave the young leaders a great opportunity to delve deeper into some of the issues surrounding youth in Liverpool and understand more about how they can relate these issues to their own work back in Belfast.

I really enjoyed getting out and seeing the city and meeting some local people. I learned about some of the issues facing people here and how they can be applied to people living in other cities.

 

Before heading to the airport, the final activity was heading to Henry's Ninja Gym to work on their fitness and have a bit of fun before heading back to Belfast. It was also a great chance to reflect on everything they encountered and learned over the previous three days.

I learned to be more open minded, getting to meet some of the young people in Liverpool, I realised that we were basically the same, we have the same problems going on.

I learned that no matter where you go, every city has it’s own story. There’s something wrong or there’s a conflict between people so I’m going back and changing my view on the way I view Belfast and the conflicts between each other.

  

Kathryn Hill, Director of Active Communities Division, Department for Communities said: 

This is an amazing learning opportunity for our Young Leaders from Colin and Eastside on the Department’s ‘Uniting Communities through sport & creativity’ programme. It gives them the opportunity to work with elite athletes from the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, the chance to discover more about youth leadership from other young leaders in Liverpool, to help increase their skills and to bring that learning back to their own communities where they can put it into practice.

We asked some of the young people on the trip to sum up the whole trip in one word if they could, the answers seem to suggest that the trip was a success!

Eye-opening. Outstanding. Exceptional. Amazing

The Young Leaders and Yong Ambassadors who took part in this trip will now go back to their communities all over Belfast and put all they have learned over the last few days into practice with the young people they are working with. You can follow their progress on Twitter

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.