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Koulla Yiasouma, the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People, paid a visit to Fermanagh Trust to meet with their Grant Maker Apprentices. With over 20 years experience in managing various funds, the Fermanagh Trust is now handing over the reins to young people in order to develop leadership, build capacity among the young grant makers and create opportunities for local groups to receive funding and engage in community action.
(Back L-R) Alannah Harpur, Morgan McGrath, Koulla Yiasouma The NI Commissioner for Children and Young People , Sonya Johnston Fermanagh Trust and Eibhlinn Fee. Front (L-R) Emma Corrigan and Orla Greene.
As part of the programme, the young apprentices are developing the skills involved in being grant makers. The team shared their priorities with Koulla and they were commended for their passion and dedication. Previous youth led programmes by the Fermanagh Trust have successfully awarded £1000s to a number of local innovative projects, making a difference and empowering young people. The young apprentices are working with others to gain the knowledge and tools required for identifying issues or concerns in their community, researching, negotiating priorities and ultimately working as a team to make a positive and meaningful contribution.
The NI Commissioner for Children and Young People, appointed by the First and Deputy First Ministers, is tasked to promote and safeguard the rights and best interests of children and young people. Koulla’s key strategic priorities for her term in Office, which she was able to discuss with the grant makers, include addressing educational inequalities, tackling child poverty, improving emotional and mental well-being and addressing the on-going legacy of the conflict on children and young people. Ensuring the right of every child to freely express her or his views, in all matters affecting her or him, and the subsequent right for those views to be given due weight.
The Grant Maker Apprentice Programme is part of a wider £500,000 investment from The National Lottery Community Fund into a major project to identify and develop leaders, to help secure a positive future for the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector in Northern Ireland.
Lauri McCusker, Director of the Fermanagh Trust said “Many thanks to Koulla for visiting with the group and for her kind words of encouragement. We have a great team of apprentices who are learning that giving out a pot of money isn’t actually all that simple and there are a number of steps to work through. But who better to decide the issues and concerns for young people, than young people themselves, which is why we carry out projects such as this.”
The Fermanagh Trust’s apprentices will be inviting organisations to apply to funding for their chosen themes early in the new year. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org / Tel: 028 66 320 210 for more info.