Belfast Hills Bright Future undertook a wide scope of programmes to facilitate local improvements, community involvement and site action, via school and youth outreach work.
  • The project made face to face contact with 13,262 young people over the six years of the programme – an average of 2210 young people per year!
  • 848 school children were involved on a regular basis each year
  • More than 6,800 young people engaged via its social media platforms with various campaigns or workshops including its very successful online Careers Festival
The Belfast Hills Partnership team developed employability workshops, online advice videos, mock interviews and one-to-one training. During a focus group with some young people the positive impact that these opportunities had upon their career choices, ability to secure employment and simply increase their confidence was highlighted. Having skilled, confident young people entering the green employment sector who will in turn make a positive impact is a wonderful programme legacy.
Being part of the Belfast Hills Bright Future project gave me the opportunity to gain vital practical experience to go alongside my university degree. I gained new skills in delivering outdoor education sessions, environmental conservation such as surveying, planting and habitat management and had the chance to benefit from employability workshops and interview training which was really helpful when applying for jobs. My experience with the project also boosted my self-confidence and encouraged me to go after other opportunities. Thanks to this experience, I am now working full time in a role that I love as an Environmental Engagement Officer, leading other young people in environmental activities.”
The programme enabled a wide range of sites to undertake a variety of environmental improvements from litter picks to native tree and wildflower planting. Some sites were school grounds or industrial sites within the Belfast Hills area and so were not accessible to the wider public. Other sites were public parks, nature reserves and local green spaces that are enjoyed by all. In total approximately 30ha of improvement works were undertaken by young people over the years, including the creation of a 9ha woodland, with one tree planted for every young person involved in the scheme.
One teacher said that as a result of being involved in the project the school has formed a biodiversity team which is working with different departments in the school to transform the school ground and make them more wildlife friendly.
In 2019, the Our Bright Future all project seminar was held in Belfast, Outreach Officer Jo wrote a blog about the experience. Want to learn more about the project? Read Alanna’s story and download the project evaluation report.