The early days were fraught with many challenges but gradually Youthlife developed a range of programmes to help young people who had experienced bereavement and loss issues.
Our first funding was secured from the Western Health & Social Care Trust. Further funding from BBC Children in Need and the Big Lottery enabled the group to develop and expand, securing suitable premises and skilled staff. Funding from the Tudor Trust has enabled us to appoint a Counselling Co-ordinator and two additional Counsellors, bringing our Counselling team up to nine.
Youthlife has been able to respond in many different ways over the years to the changing needs of the young people we serve. Programmes are now delivered in schools and outreach venues, as well as in our own centre. Our facilities have recently undergone a complete refurbishment thanks to grants from The Clothworkers Foundation, the Rank Foundation, the Honourable the Irish Society, and the Screwfix Foundation.
With support from the Public Health Agency NI, we now offer an accredited Peer Mentoring Training Programme for young people affected by bereavement and loss, so that they can safely and effectively help others through difficult times. This cornerstone project for Youthlife is based on the principle that in helping others we help ourselves. We never cease to be amazed at young people’s enthusiasm for supporting others who have also experienced the pain of bereavement and loss in their own lives. As Youthlife moves into its 25th year, we aim to keep growing with the times and to remain valued by the children and young people we help.