Local Teenage Girls Receive Vital Support Through Newry Mourne and Down PCSP Programme

Fifteen teenage girls from Ballynahinch, Newcastle and Dublin recently participated in the Newry, Mourne and Down Policing & Community Safety Partnership’s (PCSP) Safer Choices Programme.

dn_screenThis was the first PCSP cross-border Programme that was organised in partnership with the local PSNI Neighbourhood Policing Team and the An Garda Siochána. The aim is to educate young women into making better and safer choices in their lives and providing them with beneficial information on confidence building, team working and community safety issues such as alcohol/drugs, sexting, cyberbullying etc.

Speaking about the programme PCSP Chair, Councillor Mickey Larkin said: “This cross border programme is an excellent initiative which gives young women an opportunity to explore a wealth of possibilities that could be available to them. I congratulate the PCSP on their innovation and creativity in developing such a successful programme and look forward to hearing about the reciprocal visit in February”.

The girls had an opportunity to meet influential and inspirational women of the District. Margaret Ritchie, MP welcome the teenagers at Stormont and organised a very informative and interesting tour of the building. Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Cllr Naomi Bailie spoke to them about her experience as a female Councillor and what is was like to be the first female Chair of the new Super Council.

A special appearance was made by up and coming local musician, Triona, who treated the young women to some of her music and gave them an insight into her life in the music business and how she made it happen. The girls also received some vital information on cyberbullying and where to seek support from Anita Dennison who set up the ‘Don’t Bully’ Programme after she was a victim of cyberbullying.

In order to build on their confidence and to identify a suitable career path, PM Associates carried out some fun and insightful workshops with them leading them to think about where their strengths and talents could be best developed for their future career. A visit was made to the RADAR Safety & Awareness Centre in Belfast to highlight and tackle issues such as anti-social behaviour and alcohol/drugs. Speakers from the Life Changes Lives Programme provided an insight into their personal experiences of alcohol & drug abuse and the impact it had on them and their families.

A reciprocal visit to Dublin is planned for February 2016, during which the young women will meet members of the An Garda Siochána and experience the community safety issues they face in Dublin.