JUNIOR COUNCIL OF SOCIAL SERVICE 1972/3

FOREWARD It is a privilege to write a foreword for such an excellent report, although this was not my first knowledge of the good work being carried out by the Junior Council of Social Service. In our troubled times it is refreshing and reassuring to read of the many ways in which these young people are organising and helping a wide variety of causes both in and outside the Borough of Coleraine and the Triangle Area. Any young person who wishes to be part of the rehabilitation of Ulster would find in the Junior Council of Social Service a stepping-stone to their ambition. This organisation is sound proof that all denominations should and can work as one. You deserve the greatest credit for your efforts and time given. I wish you the very best of luck and success. CYRIL LEE Mayor of Coleraine INTRODUCTION The Junior Council of Social Service has been operating for over a year. It was formed as a Sub-Committee of the North East Council of Social Service. It is composed of two senior pupils from Coleraine Girls Secondary School, Loreto Convent, Coleraine High School, Dominican Convent and Coleraine Academical Institution, two students from the New University of Ulster and two teachers. The Chairman is a member of the Executive Committee of NECSS and another member has recently been appointed to the Management Committee of the local Citizens Advice Bureau. Council activities include - Fund raising for charitable groups. - Entertainment for the old and the young. - Visiting the elderly and handicapped. - Supervision of small groups of children at weekends. AIMS In the Coleraine area secondary schools are largely segregated on the basis of sex, religious persuasion and educational ability. Opportunities for joint activity are limited. Through the medium of community service the Council aims to provide such an opportunity. The sense of achievement and responsibility associated with community service are important factors in personal and capability development.

STRUCTURE Although the Council does have a Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer its meetings are quite informal. The frequency of meetings depends on the number and type of projects on hand. The small size of the group and the informality permit projects to be discussed, decided on and implemented before boredom and stagnation set in. A more formal structure could stifle the enthusiasm, imagination and dedication of all those associated with our activities. If, as seems probable, the activities of the Council continue to expand then individuals may be required to supervise our regular and long term projects. This would also give other organisations a direct link to the services which we can provide. For example, when children have been brought from the troubled areas of Belfast to Corrymeela we have been able to provide both helpers and entertainers. SOCIAL PROJECTS The projects undertaken have given young people the opportunity of working as individuals, as members of small groups and as members of large group. Because or the difficulty of finding suitable projects large group activity has mainly been in the field of fund raising. In one project alone more than three hundred people were involved. Quite a few have been visiting the old. and the handicapped mostly through their own initiative but some through the influence of their friends. This type of work can be very demanding as well as very rewarding, For example, two members have been visiting a man with multiple sclerosis twice a week for the past nine months. At Corrymeela small groups have put on over twenty concerts for old people and young people from the troubled areas of Belfast. Others have helped to organise and supervise children from adventure playgrounds. Working at Corrymeela has provided a unique opportunity for pupils from the Coleraine area. It has given them direct contact with such people as the Tartans and families of internees. Some of our members helped to establish a Community Association on the west side of Coleraine. Through our efforts the Army offered a large hut for changing facilities on the Laurel Hill all-weather pitch, an FA football coach and a quantity of football strips to the people who help to organise football in that area. The Coleraine Borough Council accepted this generous offer and will provide the necessary facilities to put the hut into service. A very successful 5-a-side football tournament for eight teams of boys from this area was held in the sports hall of the NUU in June. A similar tournament was held in October but for boys from a wider area. Each Saturday three or four of our members help out at the children's home at Dhu Varren, Portrush. Recently others have gone along on evenings during the week. In the first two weeks of July quite a number of people helped to organise a holiday for fifty children from Ardoyne, Belfast, in the Loreto Convent. This tribute was paid to three of them:

"Thank you for directing to us young people of such unselfishness and reliability. Each in his own way made a valuable contribution to the holiday. I personally learned a tremendous amount from their unselfishness. I only wish more people in our divided communities could experience how easy it is to love and live together once .the will to do so is there." FUND-RAISING PROJECTS In October 1971 we were approached by the Royal National Institute for the Blind for assistance as they had had to cancel many of their major fund-raising activities in Belfast. We agreed to organise a door-to-door collection for four evenings using about fifty collectors each evening. The collectors were paired off and if possible no two were from the same school. The effort involved was very worthwhile because the amount collected was three times that of the previous year. This project was repeated this year with similar success. We were also able to carry out a street collection for the National Society for Deaf Children (Londonderry Branch). Three concerts were held in the Town Hall. These permitted a wide range of talents to be displayed both on stage and off stage. Most of the items were performed by individual schools but it was encouraging to see several joint performances. In April a very enjoyable, though somewhat exhausting, sing-song was held at NUU. Altogether about one hundred and fifty people participated and a much smaller number sustained their effort for the whole twenty-eight hours. Donations were collected mostly in Coleraine and District but some were received from England by pupils at home on holiday. RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHER GROUPS As other groups became aware of our existence and capabilities contacts have slowly increased. We have also called on other groups to support our activities. Each time we put on a concert for old people at Corrymeela the local Rotary Club helps out with transport. Welfare Officers have helped some of our pupils make contact with old people and recently we were able to meet a request from the Welfare Department for someone to shop for a family who were temporarily housebound. The town library has provided a reference collection and books on community service and also staged an exhibition of our activities. POSTSCRIPT At the beginning of January 1973 we helped organise a conference at Corrymeela for sixth formers from some of the major towns in Northern Ireland,, The theme of the conference was community service. From the conference we obtained a nucleus of people to form an umbrella group to support the work of inter-schools community service groups.

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