DTNI members Ardoyne Youth Enterprise (AYE) do sterling work in the north of the city and their most recent project is the Listen Up! Ardoyne Youth Survey launched at an event at the Houben Centre in north Belfast.
Over 150 young people, aged 12 to 17 years-old were surveyed, representing a quarter of all Ardoyne residents in that age bracket, as well as 15 youth workers. The questions focused on young people’s perceptions of the place in which they live – the public amenities, their sense of belonging, their concerns, and how the issues that are dearest to them are tackled. Staff at AYE acknowledged that there is a lot of work to do in Ardoyne – drug and alcohol misuse is the number one concern for the respondents, followed by mental health issues and anti-social behaviour. Some complained that there were “not enough green areas or places to play.” There is no doubt that community shared spaces bring social, psychological and physical health benefits; but in areas like Ardoyne this has to be balanced with an acute need for social housing, which is invariably what any available space is used for.
However despite the social problems that exist in the area, most of the young people surveyed feel a great sense of belonging and enjoy living there. Interestingly, most feel that youth workers and people living in the community are key to dealing with these issues. It is evident that AYE and the other community groups operating in Ardoyne are having a positive impact and this particular initiative can provide a good grounding for progress.
To find out more or to obtain a copy of the survey contact Catherine Couvert at Ardoyne Youth Enterprise.