New hub for vulnerable young people in Portadown

Celebrating the new hub are, from left, Simon Arlow, Asda Portadown general store manager; Elaine Livingstone, Asda Portadown community life champion; Joanne Dobson MLA; and Annmarie Rocks, Asda Foundation. INPT51-005
Celebrating the new hub are, from left, Simon Arlow, Asda Portadown general store manager; Elaine Livingstone, Asda Portadown community life champion; Joanne Dobson MLA; and Annmarie Rocks, Asda Foundation. INPT51-005

A new hub will open in Portadown next year to support vulnerable and ‘at risk’ young people through sport and work placements.

The hub, which will be run by the Active Communities Project, has received funding from Asda Northern Ireland for the next three years.

No details have been finalised yet regarding the location or opening date.

The £600,000 package from the Asda Foundation will also see hubs opened in Coleraine and Omagh, and the charity will work alongside the community life champions at each of Asda’s 17 stores to run outreach programmes across the region.

Asda champions will undergo training enabling them to provide support by mentoring young people, shadowing them during sport and youth work as well as offering them work placement opportunities.

It is expected that over 1,500 young people will be supported by the programme annually over the three years.

The announcement was made at an event held at Stormont and hosted by the First Minister, Peter Robinson MLA and Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness MLA.

First Minister Peter Robinson said the opening of the hubs will help tackle youth unemployment through sport and outreach, adding “This donation will make a tangible difference to young people in Northern Ireland”.

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said, “Life can be challenging for young people, and sometimes even more so if you growing up in areas affected by social and economic disadvantage.

“This work is very much rooted in the community, and I am confident the new hubs ...will achieve great things locally.”