This week 32 young people graduated on the Loughs Agency ‘Foyle Ambassador’ Programme.
The aim of the Foyle Ambassadors programme is to discover the social, economic and environmental importance of the River Foyle, from source to sea, while at the same time providing young people with opportunities to engage and build relationships across the city, region and political divide. This was done through a range of adventure activities such as boating, surfing and canoeing; environmental projects such as cleans ups and personal development sessions.
Allan Bogle, Community Engagement Officer at Loughs Agency said ‘throughout the summer the young people truly became ambassadors of the Foyle recognising its importance as a natural resource. Ambassadors not only built lasting connections with the river they also developed lasting friendships with each other. The experiences they have gained will provide them with skills for life through fun, friendship and adventure.’
Sharon McMahon, Designated Officer of Loughs Agency said ‘since 1999 and the Good Friday Agreement, Loughs Agency has been working North and South, delivering projects and programmes which make a real difference to the beautiful and yet delicate cross border rivers, lakes and sea resources. Our aims are clear – we are here to provide sustainable social, economic and environmental benefits through the effective conservation, management, promotion and development of the fisheries and marine resources of the Foyle and Carlingford areas.’
Since 2014, almost 100 young people between the ages of 14 and 17, have participated in this programme and become Foyle Ambassadors. Loughs Agency are keen to continue delivering this programme in the Foyle area and also in Carlingford and grow the Ambassador alumni further.
Peter Sheridan, Chief Executive of Co-Operation Ireland said ‘Co-operation Ireland are delighted to have been a partner in the Foyle Ambassador programme now in its 4th year. Too often Lough Foyle is associated with the sadness of people taking their own lives or with the river environment being used for drug dealing or other criminality but today we now have almost 100 young people who see the lough as a place to explore its wildlife and the opportunity it provides for recreation and conservation. We want to pay tribute to the young people who graduated on this year’s programme. We hope that they and the many young people who take part in future programmes will see lough Foyle as a resource that can bring economic benefits and many environmental and recreational opportunities. Lough Foyle is a place to be proud of.’
Foyle Ambassadors programme has the potential to reach many more young people throughout the Foyle and Carlingford areas. Loughs Agency have set a target of having 1,000 Ambassadors and 2019 will see commencement of the Carlingford Ambassador Programme. If you are interested in the programme, contact Allan Bogle at Loughs Agency for more information on 02871 342100.