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Community workers hit Portadown streets where they can engage with up to 180 youths a night

Edgarstown Residents Association
Pictured from left is Jordon Russell, volunteer with Portadown Community Based Detached Team, Chairperson Phyllis Abraham, Jill Smyth, the Housing Executive’s Community Safety Manager and Pauline Beattie, the Housing Executive’s Assistant South Area Manager.

Housing Executive funding awarded to Edgarstown Residents Association has enabled Portadown Community Based Detached Team continue its youth outreach work on the streets.

A recent Community Safety funding award of £44,000 will support the project until March 2022.

Run by Edgarstown Residents Association, it is a multi-element support programme, open to all local communities in Portadown.

The Community Based Detached Team works closely with the PSNI and in conjunction with all statutory agencies to ensure neighbourhoods and wider communities are safe places for all.

Fully trained detached youth workers are on the streets six nights a week and the programme offers a vast number of other support services for both young people and the elderly.

Chairperson, Phyllis Abraham said the team could engage with up to 120 young people a night during the week and up to 180 youths a night at the weekend.

Phyllis added: “Our team is on the streets six nights a week covering the Brownstown, Corcrain, Edgarstown, Killicomaine, Rectory, Redmanville, Portadown Town Centre and the River Bann areas where young people congregate.

“Thank you so much to the Housing Executive for this funding which has enabled us to carry out this vital year-long project.

“Portadown Community Based Detached Team works tirelessly day and night to ensure positive choices are made by our young people that could help them turn their lives around.

“We promote self-worth and offer the young people we work with the chance to progress to accredited qualifications if that’s the road they want to go down.”

Phyllis said Portadown Community Based Detached Team acts as a listening ear that can prevent serious risk of harm to a young person.

She continued: “Our staff and volunteers are often with young people when they are at their lowest point and we assure them that we will be with them on their journey until they actually find themselves again.

“Our young people were an invaluable support to Edgartown Residents Association during our Covid-19 Response Programme and continually display initiative, kindness and compassion.

“It is a great privilege to help them when they need that direction most and that is what we aim to do through the detached team.”

Pauline Beattie, the Housing Executive’s South Area Assistant Manager congratulated Portadown Community Based Detached Team on their ongoing outreach work.

She said; “This project is vital to ensure that young people within the Portadown area and beyond are being mentored by such a caring group of volunteers.

“Portadown Community Based Detached Team act as angels on the streets – stepping in to help young people at a time when they may need additional support, guidance and safety.

“I would also like to thank my colleague, Jill Smyth, the Housing Executive’s Community Safety Manager and her team for allocating the funding which has gone towards such a worthwhile programme for the Portadown area.

“We are all delighted to get behind this initiative and congratulate Phyllis and her team for their hard work over the last few years with this project.”

Jill Smyth, the Housing Executive’s Community Safety Manager said: “We are committed to addressing anti-social behaviour in our estates.

“We are pleased that we could help Edgarstown Residents’ Association engage with young people at risk of becoming involved in such behaviour and provide re-assurance to them and the community.”

For more information, click online at nihe.gov.uk.

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