Youth solutions for building better communities in Northern Ireland

Youth solutions for building better communities in Northern Ireland

This report is a platform for young people in Northern Ireland to tell us their experiences of living, studying and working in areas experiencing ongoing community divisions and high levels of deprivation. It presents young people’s visions for how these challenges can be addressed.  This report details findings from 12 focus groups with 92 young people, which were held during April – June 2023.

This report highlights young voices with concerns about mental health, community safety, drugs, and youth facilities that are common across many areas of the UK and Ireland. However, the persistence, and the perception, of sectarian divisions and paramilitarism ensures these challenges often take a unique shape in Northern Ireland.

Young people in this research give broad support for reducing segregation between different communities, and for greater investment in local areas. They also point to the lack of respect many believe is given to them as individuals, both in school and on the streets, and the lack of respect often given to their wider communities.  Significantly, many of those who participated in this research believe more needs to be done to make sure young people feel safe in their local areas.

The report also provides insights into how the cost–of–living crisis is hitting young people. It highlights young people’s anger at the lack of facilities and support available in their local areas, including the impact of recent spending cuts.

The full report can be downloaded here. This is the first of two reports taken from the focus groups. The second isYouth solutions: Improving education, training and employment in Northern Ireland. These reports are part of Pivotal’s broader Youth Solutions project, which has produced a policy and literature review and a youth survey

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