Local Summer Scheme is Steeped in Success

Tuesday 09 August 2016

OasisOver 300 young people, including many with disabilities, recently took part in another successful summer scheme jointly run by the ‘Oasis Youth and Family Learning Centre’ in Portadown and local charity ‘The Cedar Foundation’.The summer scheme was supported by over 100 volunteers, 75 of whom were young people aged 12-19 who gave up their time to run a week jam-packed with adventure and excitement.

The summer scheme hosted a series of fun filled activities such as sport, dance, art, music and baking. 

The scheme’s main aim was to assist cross-racial and cross-cultural understanding, exchanges, as well as empower young people through volunteering. One great result from the scheme was the spirit of goodwill and cooperation generated amongst the many parents and helpers who supported it. Throughout the summer scheme, various initiatives were coordinated to ensure a memorable programme for all attendees.

One such initiative, ‘Jugglers & Jesters’, was held at St. John the Baptist Primary School and attracted children from across Portadown and Craigavon comprising of 12 nationalities and included a group of Syrian refugee children who recently arrived in the Craigavon area.  

The children were also treated to a special trip to ‘The Fun House’, Newry where the children and leaders had a blast in the adventure play area with numerous new friendships and relationships being created.

Many parents were keen to praise the summer scheme;

‘It’s great to see so many children smiling’.   
‘I just want to let you know that the scheme is extremely well organised and the amount of volunteers you have shows that people understand the ethos behind the scheme. As we live in a multicultural society I am pleased that my son had the opportunity to mix with different races and backgrounds to allow him to make friends and learn that we should not judge or discriminate against others. Thank you.’

'The Summer scheme is probably the greatest thing ever to come about this town.’

The annual Cedar and Oasis Summer Scheme (run by Community Intercultural Programme) generates significant interest from local parents. Through their participation in the scheme, their children have the opportunity to improve levels of cooperation and understanding in an intercultural environment.

Summer SchemePatrice Henderson, Cedar Youth Officer said; “We’re delighted to partner with Oasis to deliver this summer scheme which is going from strength to strength each year.  It’s a fantastic opportunity for young people with disabilities to be involved in local activities and meet other young people from a variety of backgrounds and to forge new friendships”

Andrew McCreery, Youth Coordinator with Oasis added to Patrice’s sentiments; ‘Throughout the year Oasis delivers a personal development programme for young people that seeks to build their self-confidence through positive social interaction and training. The summer scheme provides an ideal opportunity for the young people to put their learning into practice, develop teamwork skills and foster new levels of cooperation, integration & friendship. Our volunteers have performed exceptionally this year and give our staff team an immense sense of pride and achievement.’    

Special thanks go to the agencies and funders who supported various aspects of the Jugglers & Jesters Summer Scheme: NI Housing Executive, ABC Council-Good Relations Department, Big Lottery, BBC Children in Need, Early Intervention-Southern HSSC Trust, Education Authority, Cool FM Cash For Kids and Tesco (Portadown). 

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