Digital Finance Champions

New funding from the Santander Foundation will support The Bytes Project to give 300 young people the ability to find, sort and manage financial information and services in all digital forms. This will Increase their financial and digital literacy, empowering them to make positive financial decisions and access digital financial services. It will instil confidence in participants to apply digital and financial literacy in their own life and work, and with their newly gained skills, they will be equipped to support increased digital and financial literacy in others.

The funding awarded comes from the Santander Foundation, an independent grant making foundation funded and supported by Santander UK. The foundation is supporting The Bytes Project as part of a £4.8m funding programme to digitally and financially empower people across the UK.

Judith Moran, the Santander Foundation Chair said, “We’re delighted to be working alongside and supporting The Bytes Project, with their expertise and approach this funding will positively change the lives of 300 people.

To find out more about the Santander Foundation please visit: www.santandersustainability.co.uk/the-santander-foundation

Launch Pad

Between April 22 and March 23 Launch Pad provided a programme focusing on improving young people’s skills in areas such as ICT, interview skills, application writing and youth work. We engaged approx. 140 young people (16-24) from communities across NI, who were not in education, employment, or training, supporting them on a 12-week journey that created opportunities for them to transform their personal circumstances, contributing to the young person’s personal and career development, enabling them to progress to training, education, or employment.

This project was part funded through the Northern Ireland European Social Fund Programme 2014 – 2020 and the Department for the Economy

Peace Bytes

Between 2017 and 2022, Peace Bytes will provide a 30 week programme that combines tech, innovative youth work practices and one-to-one support to a projected 960 young people aged 14 – 24 in Northern Ireland and the cross-border region. Through both group work and mentoring, we aim to help young people overcome barriers to their potential, build their confidence and develop links with their peers from different backgrounds, in a safe and non-pressured environment. We believe the use of technology enhances our youth work methodologies, and creates the opportunity for greater engagement with young people. Raising the capacity of not only young people but the community as a whole, leaving a legacy of future leaders who will promote peace and reconciliation. In addition, we provide childcare and transport when required, as well as a financial incentive for participating to those who are eligible.

‘I first started Peace Bytes back in July 18 when the programme became available in the area. I gained 3 OCN qualifications and learned various things to do with my community, what backgrounds and religions there was and also what different organisations are within my community. After the programme I got the chance to come into Peace Bytes in Derry/Londonderry and volunteer setting up different computers, iPads etc. I really began to see how young people can be who they want to be as well as making changes within their local community. The programme has allowed me to increase my skills in technology, digital media and helped me gain self-confidence that will hopefully allow me to pass on my experience to other young people.’

Peace Bytes Participant, Derry-Londonderry Centre

Our goal is that every participant will complete a minimum of three Open College Network (OCN) qualification: OCN NI Award in Diversity and Good Relations (QCF); OCN NI Award in Peer Mentoring for young people (QCF); alongside an OCN in related area such as Conflict Resolution, Good Relations and Civic and Essential Skills where required. Recently, COVID-19 has seen the expanded use of digital resources maintain strong links with our young people, while looking to continue to recruit new groups for online only programmes. We are using a range of methods – WhatsApp, Google Classroom, Zoom, TikTok, Teams – to remain in contact with service users and continue to support them in completing the programme. Peace Bytes is funded through the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB), with match funding provided by the Northern Ireland Executive and Irish Department for Children Equality, Disability, Integration & Youth. Over the project’s lifetime, Peace Bytes will receive €3,795,063.93 in funding from this combination of sources. We work with a number of regional partner organisations, namely TIDES Training, the Moville & District Family Resource Centre and NACN.

 ‘I really enjoy the Peace Bytes sessions, the people are really nice and it’s really helped my confidence grow. I always look forward to the next session!’

Rebekah, Participant in online Peace Bytes sessions during COVID-19 lockdown

Peace Bytes is co-ordinated by Mark Clegg, who can be contacted for more information via [email protected]

For a more detailed look at the work Peace Bytes does, you can read a unique case study put together with our funders SEUPB.