AN award winning creative entrepreneurship programme is giving young people from the New Lodge a chance to create lasting change in their community.

The Agency programme is run by New Lodge Arts and the Ashton Centre and aims at empowering young people aged 15-25 to become the creative leaders and change-makers of their communities.

Eighteen young people have been meeting twice a week for 12 weeks in order to create projects and business ideas using a creative, theatre-based methodology to do so. All of these ideas must involve some sort of social action and giving back to their community. 

The panel were overwhelmed with the project ideas and how they were presented to them.

The three Projects chosen in the end to receive the funding were Abi Flannagan’s ‘From Seed 2 Plate’ Project (with Aoife Teer Supporting and Tp Ward producing); Sophie Rossbotham’s ‘Rise Above the Ashes’ (with Grace Rogan supporting and Matt Faris producing) Project; and finally a joint project with Maggie and Natalia called ‘New Heights’ (with Amy Smyth producing). 

The young people successfully delivered their projects, recruiting young people from communities across north Belfast as their participants.  


The three funded projects provided such a range of activity for young people to be involved in from hiking and gardening to journaling and drama workshops.

Orla Hawkins, Project Coordinator of The Agency Belfast said: "New Lodge Arts are delighted and proud to deliver The Agency Programme in Belfast.

"The programme totally aligns with our belief that young people should be at the centre of social change, mobilised around the social issues they care about.

"As a community-based organisation, delivering on the ground in North Belfast, we are excited to see the creative and innovative projects that our young people will design and deliver, and the positive impacts their projects will make to their areas.

"Being part of a national network like The Agency amplifies the voices and ideas of young people, creating a collective force for systematic change. 

"We are currently recruiting for next year, starting in September 2024. Please get in touch with New Lodge Arts for more information."