Young People on the Interface

Year published: 2000

Belfast Interface Project

Report compiled by Michael Hall, Island Publications
Printed by Regency Press, Belfast

To advance the Project’s knowledge of the needs of young people – as articulated by young people themselves – a working group composed of youth workers and others was set up for the purpose of carrying out a number of interviews with groups of young people, some of whom were known to have been involved in interface violence in various parts of the city. The findings from even this small-scale exercise revealed that these young people were not the stereotypical ‘thugs’ as portrayed in the media, but ordinary, likeable young
people growing up with an unusual combination of factors impacting upon their lives. Their responses revealed the extent to which the interface restricted their lives, a restriction apparent in children as young as ten years of age.
By letting young people in interface areas ‘tell their story’ – in terms of the influence which the interface has had upon their lives – the Project hopes:

  • to provide a better understanding of the major concerns and issues articulated by young people in interface areas;
  • to provide a better understanding of the relationship between young people and inter-community violence in these areas;
  • to provide information which would better inform the policy and practice of the statutory agencies in addressing the needs of these young people;
  • to encourage debate between the various agencies and highlight the importance of interface area issues as they relate to the needs of young people;
  • to see if, as a follow-up, opportunities could be made for information exchange, debate and dialogue between groups of young people in interface areas, on issues arising from the research.