The Club's Centenary Project was the presentation of a mobile support unit to FASA.
The Club decided that the Centenary Project should be a follow up to the project launched for the Centenary of Rotary International in 2005 of a 'Life Education Centre' which was part of a UK-wide initiative, to bring education on the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse to the attention of primary school children.
A mobile unit was then provided which staffed and resourced by accredited educators was towed to primary schools in the greater Belfast area, working with teachers from both communities, encouraging the children to say no to drugs and alcohol at an early formative stage in their lives. This successful initiative was taken over by the Belfast Health and Social Service Trust in 2006, but ended in 2010, due to the lack of funds and the need to target resources at ever increasing priority areas. As a result, the Life Education Centre unit was returned to the Club.
The Club considered various voluntary organisations to seek alternative uses for the unit in the much needed area of combating drug abuse and the resultant damage it causes in the more socially deprived areas of Belfast and selected the Forum Against Substance Abuse (FASA) to take control of the completed unit and extend their work in this area to a much larger target audience and client base in the greater Belfast area and other hot spot locations by converting the unit as a mobile counselling centre. It could then be towed to the 'drug hot spots' in the city, where trained counsellors can work with drug abusers and potential drug abusers and their families to encourage them to seek further help and treatment for their problems.
The Club allocated £25,000 to this venture and had the unit refurbished to FASA's specification by Brown's Coach Company, Moira with a youth-friendly outside 'wrap'. It was completed and handed over in May 2013.
Handover and Launch of Centenary Project Trailer
The trailer was handed over by President Alan Rundle to Chris Deconink of FASA and the YETI Programme launched by the Lord Mayor Alderman Gavin Robinson and Dame Mary Peters in the Lord Mayor's parlour at the City Hall, Belfast, 29 May 2013.
A the Launch the Lord Mayor stated he was privileged to welcome all to the City Hall not only as Lord Mayor but also as an Honorary Member of The Rotary Club of Belfast. He thanked both organisations for their commitment in this joint venture and was delighted to support and launch it. He congratulated the Club on developing links between the business and community sectors and the great work the Club do in the City of Belfast for the betterment of communities and FASA on their much needed preventative work in the areas of drug and substance abuse and assistance to families in times of strife and especially suicide.
President Alan Rundle stated that the Club were delighted underwrite this project adding that this trailer to FASA would provide a much needed dimension to FASA's excellent work. He pointed out that a FASA mission statement "the family is our client, the children our priority" reminds us that the effects of drug and solvent abuse reverberate way beyond the individual and indeed the family and effectively reflects the fabric of our society and, as such, we are indebted to them. He expressed that he was delighted to see this Centenary Project come to fruition and thanked all who had been involved in District, by donating and Club members, particularly the project's driving force of Centenary President Adrian Kerr, President Elect Ken Morrison and PP Gordon Millington. He also thanked Brown's Coach Works for fitting it out so superbly in such a high quality and efficient manner.
Formally handing over the trailer in the Club's 101st year, he stated that this project had fulfilled one of his own objectives for his year of forging relations between the Club and some of the major charities working in the communities offering both financial and practical support from within our own membership. He reaffirmed that the Club would continue to work with these charities in future months and years and in particular FASA, Youth Action and SOSBus.
FASA representative Chris Deconink, thanked President Alan for the Youth Engagement Targeted Intervention (YETI) trailer stating that it would be put to great use being specifically designed to go out to those communities most vulnerable and in need of services around mental health, drugs and alcohol. It would also be used to engage young people with social and recreational activities on board, retraining and re-skilling them. It would attract young people and families on board and provide vital information and help particularly in crisis areas.
Hon Member Dame Mary Peters welcoming the project, noted that prevention is much better for communities and that the trailer would make people more aware of the trauma suffered by all particularly with suicides.
The Lord Mayor and Dame Mary Peters then cut the ribbon on the trailer launching the YETI.
On board facilities on the YETI trailer include whiteboard, flat screen, dvd player, wii, xbox connect, qwizdom interactive learning facilities, leaflets and information stands in a seating area for up to 17 young people.
FASA intend that the vehicle will be used in a variety of formats and towed into identified/targeted communities to provide one or a range of the following purposes:
- A visible support service and information access point to young people in Crisis/Suicidal Ideation, particularly those communities with a potential for suicide or cluster suicides to develop
- A shop front or platform from which to stage youth related community events also in partnership with other youth providers
- An Information and Signposting Point for young people to relevant youth services and supports
- A classroom for delivering targeted training Drug & Alcohol Awareness Sessions, Resiliency Programmes, Lifeskills and Personal Development projects to young people
- A briefing room for Outdoor Pursuits activities
- A youth Lounge for young people to relax, socialize and have fun
- An engagement Vehicle which can be driven to relevant venues to engage with young people which may include Community Centres, Communal Areas, Community events etc
- A One Stop Shop for FASA Staff to meet their Outreach/Detached targets and engage young people in social and recreational activities.
This project demonstrates the Club's practical commitment to the most vulnerable in society, to which we have been committed over the last 100 years and are committed to serve for the next 100 years.