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Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Social Development Minister Gives Youth Workshops Lift-Off

Mark Beattie, Operations Director GBBCA, joins 'Departure Lounge'  cast & Nelson McCausland MLA
A series of workshops are set to take place in George Best Belfast City Airport to address issues experienced by young adults in Northern Ireland.

Minister for Social Development, Nelson McCausland MLA, launched the workshops, hosted by Pintsized Productions, on Friday, ahead of their run of ‘Departure Lounge’ in the Grand Opera House Belfast.

The workshops are supported by our Community Fund and will address issues such as employment, transition, drug and alcohol abuse and anti-social behaviour.

After attending a showcase preview of ‘Departure Lounge’ in the airport’s terminal, the Minister said: “I am delighted to have had the opportunity to participate in the launch of the workshops.  They will provide much needed access to help and support for young people so that they can build self-esteem, confidence and skills. 

“In the last decade we have seen unprecedented changes for young people in Northern Ireland, particularly those in our most disadvantaged communities.  Dramatic transformations in family structures, work patterns and mobility have all contributed to pressure on young people, which is why workshops such as these are so valuable. 

“I would also like to commend George Best Belfast City Airport for their efforts in not only engaging with the local community but also clearly, through their ‘Community Fund’, giving something back.  This is a fine example of the business sector working in partnership with the wider community.”

The showcase preview of ‘Departure Lounge’ in the airport’s terminal was also attended by Basil McCrea of NI21 who said: “Finding effective ways to communicate with young people is really important.
Basil McCrea, NI21, Joins 'Departure Lounge' Cast

“The actors on displayed huge talent at the Belfast City Airport launch and I have no doubt will provoke some lively discussions on matters that are particularly important to young people.

“I commend all involved for this innovative and exciting initiative."

The airport’s Community Fund was established with the aim of changing the lives of young people within its neighbourhood through financial support to encourage community, education, social and environmental initiatives.

Mark Beattie, Operations Director at Belfast City Airport, said: “These workshops are an opportunity for youths from greater Belfast and North Down to come together and tackle the issues that can make the transition from young adult to adult extremely difficult.

“The decisions they are faced with as teenagers and young adults will have a significant impact on their future and we want to make sure that’s a positive impact.

“Hosting the workshops here in the airport allows us to play a truly valuable role, along with Pintsized Productions, in ensuring our local young people are equipped with the support and knowledge they require throughout this transition period.”
Pintsized Productions showcase 'Departure lounge' in the terminal
The free workshops will take place on 6th and 7th October between 6.30pm and 8.30pm, can be attended by individuals aged 14 - 21. Those who express their interest to attend the workshops will be invited to an exclusive performance of ‘Departure Lounge’ on Friday 4th October in Theatre at the Mill, Newtownabbey.

The cast of ‘Departure Lounge’, a coming of age musical about four young males delayed in a Spanish airport after a holiday in the Costa Del Sol, will be present at the workshops to share their own experiences of life as young adults, as well as the experience of their character.

Gerard McCabe, Director of ‘Departure Lounge’ said: “Every individual will have a unique experience and different memories of growing up, but ultimately we will all be faced with the same decisions and the same issues.

“It’s important that our young people here in Northern Ireland are given the opportunity to understand issues such as race, sexuality, alcohol and drugs, and this is exactly what we aim to achieve through our workshops in Belfast City Airport.
Director Gerard's twitter profile pic

“The support we received from the airport’s Community Fund has not only made these events happen, but has also ensured they are fun and interactive whereby attendees can actually learn through doing.”

To register for the workshops please visit

Tickets for ‘Departure Lounge’, which will be performed in the Baby Grand Studio in the Grand Opera House, Belfast, 8-12 October, can be also be purchased through the website.

For more information about the George Best Belfast City Airport Community Fund, or to find out if your community Group is eligible for funding please visit

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