We are delighted that the DICE Connections Project has been funded by the Big Lottery for a further two years, which kicked off January 2020. The project aims to reach young people across North Down, but particularly those from the Bloomfield, Breezemount, Clandeboye and Whitehill areas. Before the club closures in late March due to Covid 19, we ran weekly sessions for young people, consisting of a number of activities, from learning about children’s rights, to some very competitive games of dodgeball! All the while slotting in much loved cooking and baking sessions.
In addition to general youth work activities, we have a number of project outcomes which focus on connecting young people with the outdoors, enhancing core life skills, promoting citizenship, and diverting young people away from harmful activities through sustained youth work provision. We value young people and the experiences and opinions they bring; we therefore believe youth work should be youth-led and we consult with young people on an ongoing basis to meet their needs.
During Covid 19 we have been extremely fortunate to stay connected with young people via zoom, again on a weekly basis, having movie nights, pizza parties, quizzes, and scavenger hunts! We update our DICE Project facebook page and @dice_project Instagram feeds and recently featured in the North Down Spectator following a letter writing activity from DICE young people, to residents in a local care home. We are excited for when the time comes to resume face-to-face youth work whilst of course taking all precautions to ensure the safety of young people, volunteers, and staff.
The Young People
DICE youth clubs are open to all young people from the age of 10 to 15 years of age. We strive to uphold our “safe, fun and welcoming” ethos throughout each club, to provide a reliable and consistent space, in which young people have a voice and are valued for who they are. We emphasise the voluntary nature of youth work, and the onus is on the young person to engage. Each of our clubs have naturally developed their own personality – with the likes of Bloomfield having a core group of older DICE young people (15+year olds), Breezemount is wide ranging (10-15 yr olds), whereas Clandeboye mainly attracts young people between the ages of 10-13 years old. As we are in the current January – February 2021 lockdown our youth clubs have moved online via zoom, keep a close eye on our DICE Project Facebook page for updates. Not only do we deliver online youth clubs with games, quizzes, baking, Among Us and much more, but we also have a ‘DICE SUCCESS’ sessions on Thursdays at 4pm to help with education and School. A new exciting development is a ’Singing Session’ on Wednesdays at 4pm for young people who would like to develop their singing potential – everyone is welcome. Please see the list below of activities taking place online:
- BREEZEMOUNT | 7-8PM | MONDAY EVENINGS | VIA ZOOM
- CLANDEBOYE | 7-8PM | TUESDAY & FRIDAY EVENINGS | VIA ZOOM
- SINGING SESSIONS | 4-5PM | VIA ZOOM
- BLOOMFIELD & YOUNG LEADERS | 7-8PM | THURSDAY EVENINGS | VIA ZOOM
To register your young person for DICE Connections, please complete the attached registration form and email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Link to form is here – https://ndcn.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Reg-form-2021-pdf.pdf
Whilst this phase of the project was in its early stages, we were a month into a newly formed Afterschools club. This involved a partnership with a local primary school whereby young people had an hour of physical activity, followed by an hour of “drop in” with DICE, to focus on their general wellbeing and personal development. We were joined by a local Ulster and Irish Rugby player who was interviewed by very well-prepared young people around commitment, mental wellbeing, healthy eating and positive general lifestyle habits that come with professional sports.
As well as this, we were excited to begin the Innate Health Education and Resilience Training (IHEART) with the first cohort of young people which sets out to uncover and support young people’s innate resilience and mental wellbeing.
Similarly, prior to lockdown, Breezemount DICE enjoyed a lovely sunny day at Belfast Activity Centre with half of the group mountain biking and the other half orienteering. Post Covid 19, we will resume our plans to deliver mentoring programmes, young leaders’ programmes, residentials and outdoor adventures.
Due to the current COVID-19 lockdown and restrictions we are unable to accept volunteers at this time, but please keep an eye on this page to see when volunteering opportunities open up again.
North Down Community Network sees the value in all communities being serviced with quality youth provision and will endeavour to ensure that each community and each section of our communities have access to high-quality youth provision.
A copy of NDCN’s comprehensive and robust Safeguarding Policy is available on request.