In early June, Bytes had the opportunity to head to sunny Latvia on one of the many EU schemes that exist to bring organisations from across Europe together. Programme Lead Charlene Cowan and I traveled to Sigulda, a town about 30 miles from the Latvian capital, Riga, for five days of work.

Taking part in one of these schemes is a first for Bytes and, in truth, we arrived not entirely sure of what to expect. Our main expectation was that we were going to develop our knowledge & skills regarding projects under the “Erasmus+: Youth in Action” and “European Solidarity Corps” schemes, aimed at young people in NEET situations. From these relatively dry titles, you might think that we were in for a week of massed PowerPoint slides and lectures.

Luckily, that was not the case and even though the daily workshops were long, there was plenty of time to unwind and work on our own ideas. We also found time to take in a few of the sites of Sigulda – who knew that there are several castles and that a host of Crusaders came from the town (not the Belfast football team)!

So, did we learn anything? Yes, absolutely. We learned a huge amount about how we could develop our own Erasmus+ and Solidarity Corps projects within Bytes, as well as how these can link into our existing projects. Over the next few months, we’ll be scratching our heads and starting to develop ideas into new projects that we can get stuck into and hopefully this will lead to opportunities for more staff to travel across Europe.

At this stage, we have also developed new relationships with other youth based organisations in Austria, Portugal, Turkey, Latvia, Holland and Estonia, which isn't bad going!

- Roger Warnock, Director.