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Young people getting ready for summer fun

Newlodge Arts Ann Delaney Newlodge Arts Ann Delaney
By Michael Jackson

SCHOOL’S out for summer – rejoice, celebrate and, of course, contemplate the familiar dilemma of what to do with your young ones during their long two months off. If you or a young person you know is faced with the habitual struggle to fill those days with excitement, then look no further than the New Lodge Art’s packed programme of summer events.
The inimitable arts group will once again host a range of activities in the coming weeks including drama, sports, comedy, music and dance. The programme will culminate in the jam-packed Festival of Fun in Lepper Street on August 8 and there will be no shortage of events and activities along the way, such as a local production of Disney’s High School Musical.
Speaking to the North Belfast News, Anne Delaney, Arts Programme and Operations Manager at New Lodge Arts, said: “For a lot of the young people that we work with they may not be going on summer holidays, or they may not be getting out of the area. These types of activities are diversionary activities for them to take part in.
“It brings young people from various communities across North Belfast together. We work with kids from the Lower Shankill right up to Rathcoole. It’s about the personal and social development of young people, but also the good relations is really important in the work that we’re doing. It also provides diversionary activities around the time of unrest related to the internment bonfires. We see these projects as bringing a positive outlook to these areas during these times.”
She continued: “We have our festival of fun event, which is on the 8th of August on Lepper Street. It’s our headline event, so it will be full of comedy, street theatre, music, dance, amusements, a roller disco – there is loads happening that day. Over the last few years there has been a lot of negativity around the bonfire so we’re working with Féile on this event as part of their wider Belfast diversionary programme.
“It’s a good opportunity for young people to meet new friends, it gives them something outside of their school life and it helps to improve confidence and self-esteem. It’s brilliant for the young people themselves, but also then you see parents coming along who are so proud of what their child has achieved. I think bringing the likes of High School Musical to the Mac, which is one of Belfast’s best theatres, is brilliant. It’s a great opportunity for young people to be involved. It’s on our doorstep and a lot of young people might not have the chance to use it. Tickets are £4, so they’re affordable for local families – no other tickets at the Mac are that price. We really want to encourage people to come and support their local young people.”

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