Northern Ireland

Public Achievement: NI youth charity closes due to funding problems

Young people attending a Where is My Public Servant (WIMPS) project event in 2014
Image caption The award-winning youth charity ran the Where is My Public Servant? (WIMPS) project

One of Northern Ireland's leading youth charities, Public Achievement, has announced it is closing.

A statement from its board blamed "the challenges of securing new funding and dealing with cash-flow in a very difficult climate for our sector".

The charity ran the Where is My Public Servant? (WIMPS) project and also worked extensively with young people in sectarian interface areas.

It had won a number of awards for its work.

'Doesn't fit'

In 2012, the organisation became the first in Northern Ireland to receive a Big Society Award from the Prime Minister David Cameron.

It also took local young people abroad to South Africa, the USA and the Middle East.

The board's statement went on to say that "as we refuse to problematise and label young people, we often find that our work doesn't fit the boxes of funders and government departments.

"We urge the Northern Ireland Executive to consider more deeply the conditions of the lives of so many young people here.

"We have the highest youth unemployment in the UK (over 20%) and yet young people are our greatest asset."

The statement continued: "The stop-start nature of funding for our sector and the frequent gaps between funding programmes have been major contributors to the situation that has led to this regretful and very difficult decision."

Public Achievement was founded in 1999 and employed nine staff.

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