Youth project ends but its legacy ‘will live on’

Helpers at the CURBS celebration. INPT14-030
Helpers at the CURBS celebration. INPT14-030

Around 250 young people attended a celebration event to mark the end of the successful CURBS programme.

The event at St Mary’s Youth Club, hosted by Denise Watson from UTV, featured song, dance, drama and film shows.

In all, seven urban and seven rural youth clubs took part in more than 100 projects over 30 months.

The project was aimed at developing new levels of understanding, co-operation and friendship between young people who previously had little contact with communities other than their own.

Stephen Smith of the Community Intercultural Programme said the co-operation between diverse youth clubs will be sustained beyond the CURBS project.

The occasion was also used to officially launch ‘Blue Lights,’ an educational film produced by young people on the issue of safe driving.

The film shows a group of Portadown fire personal as they stage the extraction of two teenagers from a crashed car. Portadown Fire Chief Martin Thompson spoke of how the film will be used on social media and in safe driving talks.

Social media was an important feature of the programme. Thirty short films were created by young people which may be viewed on the CURBS YouTube channel while ‘The Gifted’ film series, which focuses on conflict and division, will be screened at Belfast Film Festival.

One of the 600 young people who participated in the CURBS programme described it as “life-changing for the youth of Portadown”.

Ciara McLean, programme manager from OFMDFM and Atlantic Philanthropies which funded the programme, said, “CURBS has been one of the best projects I have been involved in and I congratulate the partners that have dedicated so much time and energy to transforming the mindset of so many young people.”

Volunteering was also a key aspect of CURBS with young people designing and delivering small projects, working alongside local charities and volunteering at community events.

“We believe that CURBS has developed a sustainable, working relationship between youth groups and has changed the way they address community issues,” said Mr Smith.