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Youth Engagement Programme

Youth Engagement Programme, Belfast interface SROI

Youth Engagement Programme making a difference at Belfast interfaces 

 
A recent Gauge NI social impact evaluation found that for every £1 invested in a project aimed at tackling issues faced by young people living in interface areas of Belfast, there was £9 of social value generated.
 
The Belfast Youth Engagement Programme (YEP) is a PEACE III funded initiative aimed at developing an inter-agency approach to youth engagement and tackling issues faced by young people in interface areas. The pilot project started in January 2012 and was completed in September 2014. It focused on four interface areas:  M1-Westlink, Black Mountain, Ardoyne-Woodvale and Inner East.
 
The programme aimed to engage with ‘hard to reach’ young people involved in, or on the periphery of involvement in, antisocial behaviour at interface areas. The project aimed to reduce incidents of violence and create alternative pathways to improve their life chances. 
 

How the programme made a difference

 
Over 300 young people were involved in the programme. Not only did the YEP have a positive impact on the young people but their families, project partners, the PSNI and the community as a whole have also benefited. 
 
Gauge’s evaluation of the programme found there had been a reduction in substance abuse and anti-social behaviour, an increase in confidence and respect for the community as well as increased trust for local authorities among young people. Significant changes experienced by young people since taking part in the programme included being more involved in their community, increased employment opportunities, increased confidence and pursuing education through school or further education.
 
One of the mentors who took part in the programme said this about the change the young person he worked with experienced, “The YEP has completely turned Anna’s life around. She hasn’t self harmed since taking part in the programme; she was able to continue with school without repeating a year and has already undertaken a level one youth work course.  As well as this renewed focus on her own future, Anna’s thoughts also turned to helping her own community. She set up a steering group of young people who organised a Halloween and Christmas community event and plans to do more.” 
 

Social value

 
Gauge NI carried out a Social Return on Investment (SROI) evaluation of the YEP to determine the social value generated from the programme. SROI is an approach to understanding and managing the impacts of a project, organisation or policy. It is based on stakeholders and uses financial value of the important impacts identified by stakeholders to identify what is important to them. 
 
In order to evaluate the SROI for the programme Gauge engaged with those who were involved including delivery partners, young people, their families and local authorities. The evaluation concluded that the Youth Engagement Programme delivered a value for money service creating a high level of social value. The SROI analysis suggests that approximately £9 of social value was created for every £1 invested.
 

About the Youth Engagement Programme

 
Agencies with an interest in youth-related crime and antisocial behaviour worked within the community sector to engage young people throughout three phases of the programme providing a range of diversionary activities, family support and 1:1 mentoring.
 
Phase one - Over 150 young people engaged in diversionary activities that helped to encourage social interaction to reduce isolation of young people and to remove them from flashpoints at key times of the year, such as 12th July and during the ‘flag protests’ from December 2012. Activities included sports and healthy living camps, an interface diaries programme and a cross community residential. 
 
Phase two – Intensive support package for young people including 1:1 mentoring, education, employment and training support, family support and counselling, There were 60 places available for young people to avail of these services. 
 
Phase three – After successfully gaining additional PEACE III funding an extension and a further phase of mentoring and activities took place engaging with 92 youths from across Belfast.
 
Find out more:
 
 
 
 
Call us: 028 9043 6400
Gauge NI: 15-17 Grosvenor Road, Belfast, BT12 4GN