Dreamscheme’s Survive to Thrive project was funded by Belfast Police and Community Safety Partnership, and was delivered in Milltown and Belvoir estates.
WHAT WE DELIVERED
From October 2017 to March 2018, we worked closely with a small group of young males from Breda estate who were involved serious anti-social activities and in a pattern of making destructive life choices. During the project, we delivered weekly drop-in and developmental activities on Monday and Friday evenings.
We also facilitated a number of diversionary trips with young people including Go-Karting, rock climbing, and bowling.
WHAT DIFFERENCE DID WE MAKE?
Our major aim during the early phase of the project was to increase the engagement and commitment of the group, and to introduce them to the concept of workshops. We delivered a series of short workshops, focusing on attitudes and behaviour as well as the consequences of anti-social behaviour. These workshops provided valuable opportunities for discussion with the boys and by November 2018 our relationship with the boys had improved greatly. In our weekly session evaluations, staff noted that the group had become much more open to talking about their attitudes and choices. Reports of anti-social behaviour were also reduced by November. On 7 November, we received positive feedback from local PSNI Sergeant who thanked us for our “valuable” diversionary work in the area.
During the second half of the project, we further built trust and relationships with the group of boys. Respect towards Dreamscheme and staff also improved. Over these months we focused on encouraging the boys to contribute positively to their community. During December, the group prepared and delivered Christmas hampers to elderly residents in the Breda estate. Educational workshops focused on racism and young people’s hopes and dreams were particularly successful. During these workshops, there was excellent discussion and debate. Feedback from the young people indicated that they were challenged to re-think why they chose to say certain things. They also expressed that they understood more about the consequences that their words can have on others.
Towards the end of the project, we received positive feedback regarding the impact of our youth work in Breda, with local shop owners, police and community leaders indicating that anti-social incidents in the area had decreased since the beginning of this project.
We have seen a significant change among the 10 young males who have attended throughout the project. Particularly, there has been an evident improvement in their willingness to participate in serious discussion and choose positive activities over destructive activities. Trust and relationships have also improved between young people and the Dreamscheme leaders, as a result of mentoring and regular small group work.