A cohort of 14 care experienced young people have celebrated today as they graduated from Northern Ireland’s first ever Odyssey Ice Academy and officially became ‘Community Giants.’
The Lord Mayor of Belfast met with all of the participants of the scheme at an official reception at Belfast City Hall and congratulated the young people on the new skills and important life experiences they have gained with the support of the Stena Line Belfast Giants.
The Ice Academy has been funded by the Department for Communities (DfC) and the Odyssey Trust as part of the Executive’s Together: Building a United Community Strategy. Project partner, Include Youth, provided ongoing mentoring support to help build self-esteem, confidence and resilience as the young people transition into adulthood.
Speaking at the graduation the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Nuala McAllister said:
“This is exactly the type of inspirational programme we need for the City’s young people and I commend all of the partners who have worked to provide this successful group with an opportunity of a lifetime.”
Fergus Devitt, Director of Active Communities Division at DfC, said:
“The Odyssey Ice Academy was a unique opportunity for young people to work, learn and have fun together, and now we have recognised the ‘Community Giants’, who will promote messages of good relations and reconciliation throughout the city. The Academy has all the essential elements to make a real difference to the lives of the participants through their engagement in sport, coupled with the support and inspiration of the iconic Belfast Giants.”
Community Giant Alisha Duncan said:
“The Odyssey Ice Academy was amazing and we learnt so many new skills including how to play ice hockey with the Belfast Giants at The SSE Arena, Belfast, which is much harder than it looks. I am so proud to be a Community Giant.”