ROW South Antrim celebrated the success so far of its Rural Youth Workshop project, which has seen 21 young people from across rural South Antrim make links with their European neighbours from France, Finland and Estonia.
The young people showcased their hard work and experiences to their parents and funders at a special Rural Youth Celebration event held in Antrim Civic Centre last Wednesday.
One of the participants was Daniel McKavanagh, from Crumlin, said: “My time in France was a great experience to remember. Seeing how other cultures function, not only cultures from France, Estonia and Finland, but also people from Northern Ireland, we really are a breed of our own.
“I enjoyed seeing the Alps (Slieve Donard doesn’t compare) and sampling the French cuisine, including a dessert of goats cheese with honey! Some of the other nationalities didn’t speak great English, so I put into practice my French knowledge and this made making friends a lot easier.
“In fact, I am in touch still with some of the people from France. I went on this trip not knowing anyone and came back with a lot of new friends as well as improved French. It has given me the confidence and enthusiasm to do something like this again and would like to stay involved with GROW to help in future projects.”
Bob Adams, Member of the GROW Local Action Group, was delighted that the young people involved have gained so much from the project,
“The Rural Youth project is particularly special to us. It brings Europe to life for young people, who are the future of our rural areas, and gives our young people the opportunity to get involved. I’d like to praise all the young people who participated.
“They have really made the project a success, getting to know other European cultures, finding out more about the Rural Development Programme and broadening their horizons. Our GROW slogan is: ‘Invest Together, GROW Together’ and this couldn’t sum up this project better in terms of all the young people who took part, investing their time and effort to make the project a success so far.
“I would also like to thank the leaders who gave their time voluntarily to support the young people during their visits and the Young Farmers Clubs of Ulster for their input in developing the project.”
The project has seen two groups of young people from across Antrim, Carrick and Newtownabbey, visit Sisteron in Southeastern France and Kullaa in Western Finland, to broaden their horizons and meet other young Europeans involved in the Rural Development Programme.
The workshops are a cooperation project between GROW and three other Local Action Groups in France, Finland and Estonia, with the aim to engage 14-17 year olds in rural development and get to know other European cultures whilst boosting their skills in videography and photography. The project combined visits to France and Finland with learning all about video production, nature and photography.
The Rural Youth Project is being run in partnership with Local Action Groups in France, Finland, Estonia and the Young Farmers Clubs of Ulster. The project is funded under the NI Rural Development Programme 2007-2013, which is part-financed by the European Union and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.