A GROUP of young people from North Belfast are gearing up for a potentially life-changing trip to Romania.

Twenty youths, aged between 15 and 18, who are part of the Romania Project in the New Lodge area, are to travel to the country in just a few weeks.

The New Lodge Youth Project, as part of Ashton Community Trust, started back in 2015 and enabled young people to get involved in an extensive programme which involved personal development, supporting young people with disabilities at the 174 Trust, volunteering to help Belfast’s homeless and intergenerational work with the local elderly.

Youth worker Sean McMullan, who is in charge of the project, said the project was much more than just a trip abroad.

“The young people learn so much throughout the year within the programme which benefits them whilst out in Romania,” he said.

“The young people volunteer weekly in the 174 Trust with young people with disability, taking part in homeless work and also learning a lot about themselves.

“Whilst in Romania the young people work in a local disability centre, orphanages, family homes and engage with young people their age to experience the culture of a young person living in Romania.

"The young people are a credit to us at the youth centre, to themselves and to their families as well. The Romania Project experience is one that is life-changing and it is a privilege to be a part of this experience with all of these dedicated young people.

“Whilst already making a big impact in their community I know that these young people will be great role models for other young people in their youth centre and community for a long time to come.”

The project has won two awards for positive change and continues to impact positively on young people’s lives in the New Lodge district.