Banbridge YouthBank recently welcomed four visitors from its Turkish counterpart to a networking event at the local Youth Resource Centre.
The event provided an opportunity for young people to showcase how YouthBank works in the local community and discuss how the YouthBank model operates across Turkey.
It kicked off with what was described as an innovative introduction, using interactive games which the students of YouthBank had devised.
A spokesperson said: “This was followed by a ‘Check-in’which taps into mental health awareness, providing an opportunity for students to discuss concerns or issues, an exercise the Turkish visitors found beneficial. “
Commenting on mental heath, Banbridge YouthBank Coordinator Geraldine McGuigan said, “Research shows that mental health awareness is a key area of concern among today’s youth and the check-in task provides an effective wellbeing exercise and one which the students actively lead”.
Also in attendance was Edel Maughan, YouthBank Ireland Manager, who stressed how participation in YouthBank “Increases confidence among young people, giving them responsibilities ,and is hugely beneficial for CVs for future employment”.
Eddel defined YouthBank as a “very valuable commitment in a young person’s life”.
The representatives of youthBank Turkey were also interested to hear of current and past projects that YouthBank members are involved in.
These included community fundraising activities and the allocation of funds to community-based projects.
Said the spokesperson: “Such projects enable the young people to project-manage all aspects from researching topics to practical implementation of projects, whether they be focused on eliminating anti-social behavior, bullying or mental health issues.
“The event ended with an insight into Turkish YouthBank practices, learning how YouthBank Turkey provides a unique tool to changes lives.
“ This was particularly inspiring given that many Turkish YouthBank members are from regions that lack basic services.
“The Turkish delegates also shared their story of introducing the YouthBank approach of youth-led grant making in areas of Turkey where rights and participation of young people have been restricted due to ongoing levels of internal conflict.”