11th October, 2017

Extern is the only local charity from Northern Ireland to have been chosen as a finalist for the national 2017 Children & Young People Now Awards.

Over 500 entries are received for the awards each year. They recognise excellence in organisations which are aiming to improve the lives of vulnerable children and young people across the United Kingdom.

The charity’s Moving Forward Moving On (MFMO) project has been shortlisted for the Advice and Guidance Award. The category recognises the initiative that has done the most to reach and provide young people with information and support in making sound life choices.

Currently Extern is supporting more than 130 young people through its MFMO project. The project works with young people aged 16-24, who are not in education, training, or employment (NEET), and/or have a history of offending behaviour.

In 2016 – 2017, 78 per cent of referrals to the project were presenting with multiple barriers to progression, including self-harm, suicidal ideation, addiction, homelessness and a history of offending.

As a social justice charity, Extern works to keep children and their families together where possible and to reduce offending and its impact on victims. It also strives to ensure that people have somewhere to live, and that the people it supports are better equipped to live and make a contribution to their community. MFMO is funded by the European Social Fund through the NEETS Strand in the Department for the Economy.

Speaking about the project’s selection for the awards, Caroline Rutherford, Programme Manager, Extern, said: “The children and young people we work with are often dealing with the types of challenges resilient adults can find difficult to handle.

For four years now, however, Moving Forward, Moving On has helped over 500 children and young people to make real and very positive changes in their lives. At the awards will be over 100 organisations from across the UK, who have had the greatest impact in transforming the lives of children, young people and families, and I am extremely proud that the MFMO team will be among them, representing the tremendous amount of hard work and determination shown by our young service users each and every day.”

Last year Extern supported over 15,000 people across the island of Ireland who were in need of support. Commending the MFMO team, Charlie Mack, CEO of Extern added:

“As the leading social justice charity operating across the island of Ireland, Extern’s staff are recognised as being among the most trusted and respected in the Third Sector, and our MFMO team are a great example of that. Their nomination for this prestigious award is well-deserved as time and time again they strive to ensure that the vulnerable young people they work with are best equipped to make positive life choices and contribute to their community.”

The Children & Young People Now Awards Ceremony is taking place at a gala dinner to be held on 22 November in London. Promoting excellence and effective practice, they are recognised as the gold standard for organisations from across the UK delivering services to children and young people.

Further information on the Moving Forward Moving On Project is available online at www.extern.org

“This project is part funded through the Northern Ireland European Social Fund Programme 2014 – 2020 and the Department for the Economy”