As the summer approaches, young people across Northern Ireland and the border region are being encouraged to sign up for fun, adventure and the opportunity to make new friends as part of the Third Space programme.

The project, which is run by local charity Extern and Verbal, the organisation that promotes the power of the spoken and written word, is for young people aged 14-24, and will be kicking off its next six-month programme on July 1st - just in time for the school summer holidays.

The project is supported through €3.99m of EU funding under the PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).

Since launching in 2018, over 200 young people have taken part in a packed programme of fun activities, residentials, site visits, and group activities through Third Space, as well as the chance to gain new skills. Participants can work towards an OCN qualification while taking part in residentials, days out, digital media and outdoor activities, including go-karting, high ropes, kayaking and ziplining, among others. Some participants may also qualify for some financial support if they are over school-leaving age and not in receipt of EMA.

During each six-month programme, participants also produce personalised videos about a subject of their choice, with challenging topics such as suicide and self-harm, sexuality and drug use already being tackled by some students.

Earlier this year, young people from the project were given the opportunity to tell TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge about Third Space when the Royal couple visited Extern’s Roscor Youth Village in Co Fermanagh. The site regularly hosts young people from Third Space on overnight stays and gives them the opportunity to enjoy a wide range of personal development activities.

CEO of Extern Charlie Mack said: “For many years now Extern has been committed to working with young people across a range of projects to support their physical and mental wellbeing, and give them support and the opportunity to transform their lives for the better.

“Third Space is a truly wonderful project which aims to bring people from different communities together in a friendly, safe, and non-judgmental atmosphere. So, if you are looking for activities to enjoy over the summer – and beyond – please get in touch with our Third Space team who will tell you all about what you can expect from the programme.”

Chief Executive of Verbal James Kerr said: “Young people have enormous potential to make a difference in their lives and the communities in which they live. The Third Space programme is about supporting our young people to make positive changes by living, learning and socialising together.

“Already, we have witnessed first-hand how our programme has helped to create a lasting impact and change young people’s lives for the better. We are really looking forward to welcoming our latest group of young people and continuing our work with them.”

Match-funding for the Third Space project has been provided by the Northern Ireland Executive and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs in Ireland.


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You can also contact Extern at tel: 028 9084 0555 or Verbal at tel: 028 7126 6946 or email: [email protected]. Referrals are also welcome from agencies and organisations working with young people.