Spirit of Enniskillen prospering 25 years after Gordon Wilson's inspirational words
Published: 18 Oct 2012 13:000 comments
Mrs. Joan Wilson, who attended a special presentation by young people who have been on the international exchange programme this summer, in the Clinton Centre, Enniskillen on Sunday, said Gordon would have been delighted at how the Spirit of Enniskillen Trust has developed over the years.
The Trust now promotes three programmes for young people, the Explore programme for international exchange and leadership, Future Voices which promotes volunteering and participation and Together, a shared education programme for post-primary schools.
At the special event held on Sunday at the Clinton Centre, established to promote peace and reconciliation on the site of the Enniskillen bomb, 40 young people from around Northern Ireland, their parents and friends congregated to hear the experiences of the young people in places such as Berlin, South of France and Sweden where they encountered issues facing immigrants and the integration of religious groups in society.
Mrs. Joan Wilson added,"It was Gordon's joy that young people would have the opportunity to go to other countries and to experience this. She said Chuck Richardson was inspiring as the leader of the Trust but now Michael Arlow was carrying that on. I had a visit recently to the Gordon Wilson Centre with one of my daughters and grandchildren and it's thrilling to see what they've done. It gives me great delight to have someone like Janet(McCusker) from Fermanagh helping to lead the programme."
Janet McCusker, originally from Fermanagh and now International Officer for the Explore programme, explained how she was just a toddler when the Enniskillen bomb occurred.
While studying at Queen's University, Belfast, Janet went to America and became involved in the Future Voices volunteering programme. She then became a young leader with groups to America and Cyprus for the Explore programme aimed at 16-19-year-olds.
Subsequently she was appointed International Officer to run that aspect of the organisation.
"It's a great job to have."
"We have 120 volunteers working for us on a regular basis. I'm involved in the selection of young people, looking at advertising and seeing the programme through.
Based at the Gordon Wilson Centre at Malone Road, Belfast with the other permanent staff members, Janet explained how the young people selected take part in residential weekends, mostly at the Share Centre, Lisnaskea, where they look at developing leadership skills.
"The Spirit of Enniskillen Trust has a strong international reputation and many organisations would seek us out," she said.
The Trust works in various countries where there are challenges in society such as division, immigration problems, refugees and religious problems.
Michael Arlow, the Director of the Trust for the past one and a half years, says the organisation is staffed by a few full-time staff and 120 volunteers on the three programmes offered.; Explore, which provides travel opportunities, Together, the schools programme Future Voices which develops peer facilitation.
"This weekend we are reviewing the experiences and a presentation is put on for parents," he said.
One of the main funding bodies is the Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade in the Republic and they were represented at Sunday's event by Brian Cahalane and Conor O'Riordan.
"Our focus is on young people on their energy and their desire to lead and to a shared future," he said adding that the decision to host the presentation event at the Clinton Centre on the 25th anniversary of the Enniskillen bomb was a symbolic gesture.
"It's very good that Joan Wilson is here today This is our 24th year of the international programme and next year will be our big anniversary
Dr. Denis Stuart, Chairman of the Spirit of Enniskillen Trust, has been involved in a career in education both in Northern Ireland and in Britain and was keen to become involved in the voluntary sector.
He said, as a Director of the Trust initially, he was moved to become further involved after witnessing the work of young people during a residential weekend at the Share Centre, Lisnaskea last year.
"I was inspired," he said, explaining that each year they not only record and honour the past but help to shape the future. It was with young people such as those involved in the Explore programme that he said helped the Trust shape the future.
And there was always demand for places. This year, there were over 100 applicants for the 40 places on Explore which took young people from all backgrounds, Protestants and Catholics, from both genders and from a mix of academic and non-academic backgrounds to places such as Sweden, South of France, Berlin where immigration and cultural difference are challenges for communities there.
Four young people from Fermanagh were among the 40 who took part in this year's Explore programme; Michael Richmond who travelled to Berlin, Ashley Robinson, who travelled to the South of France, Donnchadh Tierney, who was in Sweden and Jillian Ellis, who was also in Berlin.
Commentscomments powered by Disqus
Get more stories from our Roundup section
19 Apr 2014 13:00 • Editorial Department
A boxing champion shied away from a fight with a man over twice his age only to become embroiled in a road rage incident.
19 Apr 2014 11:00 • Editorial Department
The forty-eight former Fivemiletown milk suppliers have been assured that Fivemiletown and Brookeborough Co-operative and Agricultural Dairy Society (the Society) is debt free and that they will “continue to be paid”.
19 Apr 2014 09:00 • Rodney Edwards
ULSTER Unionist MLA Tom Elliott has joined his party colleagues in voting against the Local Government Bill, the legislation that sets out the powers of the new Super Councils. Mr. Elliott spoke of his concern around community planning ahead of the amalgamation which will see 26 Councils merge into 11, including the amalgamation of Fermanagh District Council and Omagh District Council
19 Apr 2014 08:30
Police can confirm that a male motorcyclist has died following a two vehicle road traffic collision on the Belfast Road in Fivemiletown last night, Friday 18 April.
18 Apr 2014 22:00 • Rodney Edwards
A MAJOR survey into the Orange Order in Fermanagh has found that 92.8 per cent of people who took part in the project believe Catholics are “suspicious” of the organisation.
18 Apr 2014 19:00
By 5pm on Saturday April 26 all the decisions will be made in the Danske Bank Premiership and Championship One. The destination of the title will be decided and who is going down or which teams are facing a play off will be known.
18 Apr 2014 17:00 • Rodney Edwards
ENTERPRISE Minister Arlene Foster says she cannot support the view of local political representatives, including her DUP colleague Maurice Morrow, that the Aventas Group in Derrylin must remain exclusively locally owned.
18 Apr 2014 15:00 • Editorial Department
Charlie Lawson @charlie_lawson1 I’m reliably informed that my alter ego and constant companion is to return, so he is. Must contact The Home Secretary to confirm.
18 Apr 2014 13:00 • Editorial Department
“I am not powerless, I will fight this,” declares Stormont Minister Arlene Foster as she reflects on the fall-out over the proposal by the Western Education and Library Board to amalgamate Portora Royal School with Collegiate Grammar School.
18 Apr 2014 11:00 • Lily Dane
This image “Miss Derryclavin” Selected was featured in The Impartial Reporter on April 16, 1964.
18 Apr 2014 08:30
MOURNERS at the funeral of Brookeborough man Kenneth Andrews who died unexpectedly last week were told that the 47-year-old had been fighting a private battle with depression.
17 Apr 2014 18:06 • Rodney Edwards
A would-be politician seeking a seat in the new Fermanagh and Omagh Council for the Ulster Unionist Party has defended himself for a second time following comments he made on Facebook.
17 Apr 2014 17:01
Let me get the amateur sociology out of the way first: ‘Out-group homogeneity’. It describes a bias that any group of people are prone to have.
17 Apr 2014 16:30
The proposed Development Proposal to close both Enniskillen Collegiate School and Portora Royal School and open a new school on a split site, will go before the members of the Western Education and Library Board on May 8 for approval.
17 Apr 2014 15:57
THE Collegiate Grammar School’s consultation meeting on its proposed amalgamation with Portora Royal exposed the Western Education Library Board’s (WELB) “weak process and weak argument”, according to principal, Elizabeth Armstrong.
17 Apr 2014 15:14
PARENTS of Collegiate Grammar School have accused Western Education Library Board (WELB) officials of hiding their personal vested interest in a proposal that would see the school merge with Portora Royal next year.
17 Apr 2014 14:29 • Meadhbh Monahan
HOMEOWNERS in Enniskillen are “disgusted” with workmen who took hundreds of pounds for cleaning their driveways, but never finished the job.
17 Apr 2014 14:06
WORK on the long-awaited Southern by-pass of Enniskillen could start in four years’ time but only if the millions needed for the scheme can be found, Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy has said.
17 Apr 2014 13:11
Fermanagh District Council is unlikely to hold a fracking referendum after legal advice has recommended against it.