We speak to three of our young people who have been through our current Third Space programme in partnership with Extern, to find out what difference participation made to them. 

Third Space is a PEACE IV funded programme, merging creative activities with Extern’s interventative relationship model. Over four years, it will deliver high impact and transformative engagement with 800 young people who are marginalised and disadvantaged. 

Conor, Derry/Londonderry 

Conor felt Third Space would be a good opportunity to meet new people. He was also attracted to the chance to have a residential trip to Roscor and do new activities. 

In terms of confidence, Conor felt the programme opened his eyes a bit more - “I was an ongoing person anyway, but now I feel I can go up to any stranger and ask them how they are doing.” He also feels he can now join in on more things, whereas before he would have been reluctant to get involved in things. 

He mentioned that they were people from Saudi Arabia in his group, and they were teaching each other about their respective cultures, which he found very interesting. His personal highlights were getting to build a raft, and exploring the creative aspects of film-making. 

 

Evie, Enniskillen 

Evie originally heard about the programme from her mother; her initial interest was in being able to get out and do activities, as well as gain a qualification.  

She really enjoyed the residential in Roscor, with “loads of really good activities” like making a raft, and being around a campfire toasting marshmallows. Getting support from her keyworker was also beneficial. 

Evie feels the programme has made a lot of difference to her, as she got to meet her best friend through Third Space. In the short term, she felt Third Space helped increase her confidence, and her sensitivity to other people; during her engagement, her wellbeing did improve, as she was getting out and interacting with other people more, which she says was brilliant.  

Mark, Belfast 

Mark wasn’t involved in any program or formal education before signing up to Third Space. He had completed a Princes trust program the previous summer, and from that, had been put forward for Third Space. He did not know much about the program before coming, and was apprehensive, “not liking going places where he didn’t know anyone.” However, he saw someone else he knew at the start, which made him feel more at else.  

His favourite part of the program was the residential and has learnt new things about peer pressure and culture. “I wouldn’t stereotype as much now as I would have. For example, if I had seen travellers in a group, I would have thought they were going to beat you, or steal something off you. But now, that’s just a stereotype that everybody has. It’s changed now I look at people and their groups.” 

Mark describes Third Space as “a holiday camp” and “an absolute pleasure”. He appreciated the amount of time spent committing to the programme, as well as the financial incentive in attending. Asked what the one most important thing he learnt in the program, Mark replied, “It doesn’t matter who you are, what colour you are, or where you come from, everyone breathes the same air and bleeds the same blood, so no one should be treated differently.”