ACNI launches Creative Youth Partnerships

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Arts Council Northern Ireland has launched a £1.5 million initiative aimed at establishing new opportunities for young people to participate in the arts throughout the province.

Creative Youth Partnerships has been developed over the last year by ACNI, in association with the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure, the Department of Education, and the Education and Library Board. It will provide a variety of arts programmes, including music and live entertainment, which children can access through the education sector and through community and voluntary organisations.

So far the arts council has committed £500,000 of lottery funds and £750,000 of its resources from DCAL, while the Department of Education has given £300,000 towards the scheme.

Speaking at the launch in the Odyssey Arena in Belfast, ACNI chair Rosemary Kelly hailed the initiative as "a template for the future."

She added: "The contribution of artists and arts organisations in supporting Northern Ireland schools and youth service curricula and other models of youth work practice needs to be expanded and deepened so that creative arts becomes an integral element in learning and personal and social development."

Five new CYP development officers have been employed to facilitate the programmes and to coordinate arts and youth organisations and further education colleges. A CYP website with a database of artists and creative companies participating in the initiative will go online later this month.