NW MINISTRY OF YOUTH: Ellie Jo and Caolan take part in BBC interview

NW MINISTRY OF YOUTH: Ellie Jo and Caolan take part in BBC interview

Tue 09 Feb 2021 by Evan Short

Participants in Co-operation Ireland’s North West Ministry of Youth programme appeared on TV and Radio recently  to discuss the challenges people of their age group are facing as we approach almost one year of lockdown due to Covid-19.

Ellie Jo Taylor (16) and Caolan McGinley (16) both spoke to the BBC about how they are overcoming unforeseen obstacles to ensure they stay safe during the pandemic – both physically and mentally.

Eillie Jo said the issue of digital poverty was something both she and her friends had experienced.

“There’s been a lot of talk about home-schooling but I have found I’m doing all my work off my phone, because there wasn’t much support given to us and I experienced difficulties during online learning

“This is something can impact your mental health.”

Participating in the North West Ministry of Youth project has helped Ellie Jo improve her confidence and ability to speak about the issues affecting her and her peer group.

“North West Ministry of Youth has been great for me. I wouldn’t have been involved in things before this. I was just always on my phone but this has really opened up an opportunity. I’m now involved with the youth parliament and we have run campaigns from NWMOY like working  to get schools to change their rules so girls can wear trousers as part of their uniform. Being involved has really opened my eyes and I now have a future ambition to get into politics.

“Before this I probably would’ve detested politics but now I see it as a way to address issues. I was quite quiet before when it came to public speaking but now I am comfortable talking about topics. It’s given me a lot of power to ask questions and I am very proud of what I have achieved.”

Fellow NWMOY participant Caolan said he also feels the programme has helped him.

“I went on to the BBC because I wanted to talk about the difficulties young people have faced during the pandemic, as everyone I know has been struggling and I wanted to point this out.

“The NWMOY has helped me a lot through pushing my Trousers For All campaign (asking schools to allow all students the option of trousers) and even raising the issue with the local council, who all voted to support it.

“NWMOY has also helped me by introducing me to other people who care about making changes, some of whom have become my closest friends.”

To find out more about North West Ministry of Youth click here.