• Love Ballymena

New project for young people aims to tackle anti-social behaviour

PCSP Chair Cllr John McDermott, YMCA's Paul Eaton and Orin Hampson alongside NIHE's Roy McClean Outreach workers are hitting the streets of Mid and East Antrim as part of a new project aimed at tackling anti-social behaviour. The goal is to get young people on board with local activities and offer a supportive hand in the many challenges facing them.

Youth workers will visit areas known as ‘hot spots’ to get to know the young people there in the hope of deterring them from a life of crime.

Chair of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council PCSP Cllr John McDermott said:

“This new multi-agency approach to tackle anti-social behaviour isn’t just about telling young people right from wrong, it will offer engaging ways for them to talk, vent, feel safe sharing what’s going on in their lives, and act as a resource to help them forge a life they want for themselves. It’s important to help young people realise that a criminal record stays with you and one silly mistake could impact the rest of your life.

“There are an abundance of programmes out there they can get involved in with everything from promoting good relations, to community initiatives, and even learning about the risks of drugs and alcohol. It’s great to have the strength to deliver such an important project with this collaborative approach from a number of agencies as well. YMCA Carrickfergus will deliver the work on the ground and they’ve already made such a difference to so many young people during this pandemic, we can’t wait to support them throughout the New Year.

“It’s all possible thanks to funding from Mid and East Antrim Borough Council through the Executive Office, MEA PCSP and The Housing Executive and we are so grateful for all these partners working together to help young people in our area.”

YMCA Carrickfergus will be engaging with young people across Ballymena, Carrickfergus and Larne. They’ve been at the forefront of dealing with a rise in anti-social behaviour since the Coronavirus pandemic started.

Paul Eaton, the Teams lead Coordinator, had this to say about the project:

“YMCA Carrickfergus has a team of highly motivated and professional individuals who are committed to helping young people achieve their fullest potential. 2020 has been a difficult year for everyone, but for a lot of young people they have suddenly found themselves without the majority of the support and activities which have allowed them to grow and develop within the community.

“The lack of services has led to many becoming isolated and anxious but for others, it has offered a level of freedom which can unfortunately sometimes lead to risk taking behaviours. The YMCA Outreach Project partnership between Carrick YMCA, PCSP and the Education Authority has been working across the Mid and East Antrim area employing several key services such as detached work, one to one support and the development of positive group work sessions for young people to engage with.

“Covid-19 has been a huge challenge, but we are finding that every week more young people are keen to engage with the programme. Unfortunately access to buildings and opportunities to divert young people to other support and services has sometimes been limited. However the Outreach Project has been actively working with other partners and local communities to meet these needs.”

Some young people who have been involved with the charity said:

“The YMCA have helped loads of young people especially my friends and I. Whenever we are out, they are there to talk and are really friendly. They also create a safe place to talk about how you are feeling. They are very nice and welcoming and I find I can tell them when I feel down and they’re really there, even if they don’t know you.”

Community Safety Manager with the Housing Executive, Jill Smyth, added: “We believe it is important that young people know and understand the consequences of anti-social behaviour on their communities, their families and themselves.

“As part of our Community Safety Strategy, the Housing Executive is committed to working with partner organisations to address anti-social behaviour in our estates, making them safe and welcoming places to live.

“Along with Mid and East Antrim Borough Council and PCSP, we are more than happy to provide Community Safety funding to ensure the YMCA can deliver this Early Intervention and Diversionary Youth Work Programme.

“The Housing Executive has worked with the YMCA in Carrickfergus for a number of years and have leased premises to them to allow their great work in the community to continue.”

For more information on the programme check out Mid and East Antrim PCSP Facebook page or


If you’ve witnessed anti-social behaviour in your area, you can report it to the PSNI using the 101 number.

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