Irish youth exchange a huge success


Dublin teenagers enjoy visit to Sunderland.

This summer the second youth exchange between the Foundation of Light and Chlondakin Youth Service, based in Dublin, took place benefitting youngsters from both Ireland and Sunderland.

This exchange followed on from the 2012 exchange when a group of participants from the Foundation of Light’s Chester-le-Street Kicks project undertook a three day cultural exchange to Dublin.

30 teenage males took part in the week-long visit to Sunderland taking part in a range of activities with the Foundation of Light. They also took part in activities arranged with the Foundation’s partners in the area including a lifeguard course with the RNLI and a day of crabbing with Fishing North East.

To round off the week Chlondakin won a friendly game of football on penalties to retain the trophy they won the last year in a very competitive, but good natured, match.

The Foundation of Light’s Chester-le-Street Coordinator, Mark Pae, commented, “For a lot of the young people involved this was the first time they had travelled abroad and without parents which is a huge personal landmark for them.

“The visit was a great success and all the young people from Sunderland and Dublin were a real credit to themselves.”

“The exchanges have really benefitted not only the young people who have made new friends and shared new experiences but also the two organisations as staff who have had the opportunity to come together and share best practice.  We hope this exchange can develop into a long-term partnership.”

Funding for the visit was awarded by Youth Council for Northern Ireland under the Causeway Youth Exchange umbrella.  The travelling group carried out a series of fundraisers to help raise the 30% travel costs they were required to cover.

Kicks is a nationwide programme operated by the Premier League Community Fund which aims to engage young people in positive activities and reduce anti-social behaviour. Foundation of Light Kicks programmes operate in Sunderland North, Chester-le-Street and Derwentside with youth anti-social behaviour being reduced in these areas by up to 80%. Funders for the Foundation’s Kicks programmes also include Cestria Community Housing and Derwentside Homes.