The difference we’re trying to make


Young people need hope and support

Young people from a wide range of communities including Braniel, Milltown/Belvoir, Breda, Dundonald and Botanic, currently attend a local Dreamscheme group,

We work together with parents, community leaders, schools and police to identify young people in most need of support.

This is experience of the young people in our care:

  • Pressure to abuse alcohol or drugs

  • Pressure to take part in anti-social behaviour

  • Poor attitude towards self and others

  • Poor attitude towards education and work

  • Mental health problems

  • Poor communication or social skills

  • Home and family problems



Local challenges

  • 8 out of 12 young people in our Breda group have experienced parental separation or abandonment.

  • 4 boys in this group have already been influenced by older teenagers to abuse drugs, while 5 of these boys have on-going behaviour problems. 

  • 11 out of 19 young people in our Milltown/Belvoir group have experienced parental separation or abandonment. One boy’s father is in prison. 

  • In our Braniel group, 10 out of 24 young people have experienced parental separation or abandonment. 

  • Young people from the Roma community in Botanic often have poor meals, live in overcrowded houses, experience racist abuse at school and face severe pressure to drop out of education. 



national challenges

  • Mental health: Almost half of young people in Northern Ireland say they have experienced a mental health problem (Prince’s Trust), while referrals to Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in Northern Ireland have increased by 21% in three years

  • Social media: Nearly two thirds of young people in Northern Ireland feel "overwhelming pressure" from social media, while over half feel “inadequate” when comparing their life to their friends on social media (Prince's Trust eBay Youth Index)

  • Poverty: Between 2015-16 and 2021-22, the poverty rate is projected to rise by 7 percentage points for children. (Institute for Fiscal Studies, Living standards, poverty and inequality in the UK: 2017–18 to 2021–22).

  • Sex & relationships: 90% of young people feel under pressure to have sex, while 1 in 3 teenagers in Northern Ireland have sent or received an indecent image on their phone (Love for Life)

  • Education & work: Nine out of 10 young people in Northern Ireland questioned for a survey said they were worried about their job prospects (British Council Next Generation Ireland-Northern Ireland report)

  • Community: A quarter of young people in Northern Ireland believe that people in their community do not care about them, while almost half (45%) do not believe they have role models in their community (Survey by Prince’s Trust and HSBC UK)


Journey of change

We walk beside young people and encourage them to grow and mature in the following areas of development:


attitudes to others

In 2018, 68 young people participated in group discussions and debates about racism and sectarianism, while 59 young people from participated in cross-community social and sports activities

choices & behaviour

In 2018, 85 young people diverted from risk-taking behaviour at bonfire sites in local housing estates. 5 young people struggling with behaviour problems completed at least 12 weeks of mentoring


In 2018, 8 young people with serious mental health problems completed 12 weeks of mentoring, 15 young people struggling with feelings of low self-worth participated in at least four weeks of mentoring support, while 48 young people participated in a programme of ‘Take 5 Steps to Wellbeing’ activities (including a social media-free walk to Cave Hill!)


motivation & aspiration

In 2018, 60% of young people progressed from ‘not motivated’ to ‘motivated’ to participate in positive developmental activities

social & life skills

In 2018, over 60 young people in Breda Academy completed six life skills development workshops. 82 young people developed teamwork skills, through various team challenges. 69 young people developed creative skills, through a storytelling project, and drama skills projects. 58 young people developed practical life skills, such as baking, cooking, CV-writing, and interview skills

making a difference

In 2018, young people have undertaken 775 acts of community service which they would otherwise not have done (including intergenerational Christmas dinner, making gift hampers, painting over graffiti). 21 Dreamschemers volunteered as junior leaders at a children’s summer scheme

The difference we have made

Dreamscheme has provided great opportunities for my daughter over the past year or so. To have somewhere for her to go were she enjoys the friendships, feels safe, comfortable and knows she has great mentors is invaluable especially in the teenage years.
— Claire, mother
The leaders and volunteers of Dreamscheme should be very proud of the work they do with the young people. They are exceptional role models. They have fun but equally discuss challenging topics current for young people today, in an inclusive approach. My son loves Dreamscheme.
— Andrea, mother
Dreamscheme has helped me stay away from dangerous things like drink, drugs and hanging around with the wrong group of people.
— Ben, young person
Dreamscheme has made me more confident in myself. I was really shy and easily embarrassed but Dreamscheme helped me come out of myself. I was able to go for a job and now work part time.
— Caitlin, young person

Would you consider supporting a young person in their journey with us by giving as little as £3?


what your donation goes towards:

  • Activity costs - we provide alternatives to anti-social or risk-taking behaviour including sports, creative and social activities

  • Transport costs - we hire buses to transport groups of young people safely during trips and overnight stays.

  • Room rental costs - we rent appropriate venues that provide a safe place for young people to meet

  • Youth worker costs - we recruit and train talented, passionate youth workers who lead and mentor young people every week throughout their teenage life

  • Accreditation costs - we offer training and qualifications to young people and young leaders

  • Food costs - we provide refreshments during projects for hungry stomachs!

  • Material costs - we need lots of practical materials so that we can facilitate learning workshops, drop-in nights, skills development activities etc.