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), whereas Clandeboye mainly attracts young people between the ages of 10-13. If you would like to know further details on how to join one of our clubs please get in touch or see the outline below.
- BREEZEMOUNT| 6.30-9PM | MONDAY EVENINGS | GREEN ROAD COMMUNITY CENTRE, BT23 7TX
- BLOOMFIELD | 6.30-9PM | TUESDAY EVENINGS | BANGOR RUGBY CLUB, BT19 7PN
- CLANDEBOYE | 6.30-9PM | TUESDAY EVENING | EBENEZER HALL, BT20 3HX
- WHITEHILL | TBA
- CLANDEBOYE | 7.00-9.30PM | FRIDAY EVENINGS | EBENEZER HALL, BT20 3HX
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.
We have been incredibly lucky to have such fantastic and committed volunteers, both currently and over the years. As the number of young people attending our clubs have steadily increased, we are always keen to welcome enthusiastic volunteers who believe they could have a positive impact within DICE. Each new volunteer will undergo an Access NI background check and receive a Volunteer Booklet with all relevant volunteer information. We will also do our best to push any training opportunities your way; DICE staff and volunteers are currently half way through a “strength-based youth work” course, which has provided an additional layer of learning and understanding of youth work practice.
There are lots of opportunities for fun, laughter, and fulfilment. Come and join the team! Please contact Caitlin Gilroy the Project Coordinator at: email@example.com | 07311211634 for more information.
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.