SEUPB Welcomes the Launch of HEROES+

Friday, 24 May 2024
Mencap SOS

Mencap SOS

On Thursday 23 May, SEUPB representatives joined Mencap NI and partner organisations, to celebrate the launch of their new PEACEPLUS project, HEROES+.

HEROES+ is an exciting new project for young people aged 14-24 with a learning disability, additional need, and/or those who are excluded from school. The project will provide innovative, transformative programmes that inspire them to develop their potential, contribute to building an inclusive society and be future community peace builders.  The project will be delivered across numerous locations within Northern Ireland and the border counties.

SEUPB Director, Paul Beattie, was delighted to attend the launch of the HEROES+ project and spoke about the importance of innovative youth programmes to delivering on the objectives of PEACEPLUS.

Welcoming the launch of HEROES+:

Chris Heaton-Harris MP, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland said: “Investing in young people is key to safeguarding peace and prosperity at the heart of Northern Ireland’s future. That is why the UK is proud to provide £730m to the PEACEPLUS programme. Through this funding, the PEACEPLUS partners are able to support the launch of the HEROES+ project. 

“I want to congratulate everyone involved in getting this programme launched and I wish the very best to all the young people involved in the HEROES+ programme and look forward to seeing them fulfil their potential.”

Ms Elisa Ferreira, European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms said: “I am happy to learn that HEROES+ project will continue its important work under the Peace Plus programme.  HEROES+ provides an inclusive environment for young people with diverse needs, backgrounds and abilities, allowing them to flourish and explore their potential.  Creating a community of future peace builders and makers is an inspiring ambition with tangible benefits for the cross-border counties and beyond.

“This extensive project partnership is an excellent example of how bringing together a variety of skills, knowledge and expertise to achieve the same goal can have a greater impact and produce remarkable results.

“I would also like to acknowledge the continuing constructive relationship between the Irish and UK governments, the Northern Ireland Executive, SEUPB and the European Union which not only provides the Peace Plus programme the impetus to embark on new ambitious projects but to continue the valuable work from past PEACE programmes.”

Dept. for the Economy Minister Deirdre Hargey MLA said: “I am delighted to be able to support the important work of the HEROES+ project as part of the cross-border PEACEPLUS Youth Programme. Building on the success of the HEROES Project, Mencap and their partners are continuing to support young people with learning disabilities to develop skills to help them progress to the next stage of their journey. This transformational young person centered programme provides a platform for their engagement in peacebuilding and a positive contribution to community relations.”

Dept. of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration & Youth Minister Roderic O'Gorman, TD said: “I am delighted to welcome the launch of this important cross-border HEROES+ project, which will see the delivery of innovative and inclusive programmes to young people with diverse needs and abilities. The opportunities provided to young people through HEROES+ will empower them to grow as individuals, develop strong and lasting relationships with other young people of diverse backgrounds and to reach their full potential in contributing to the building of a peaceful, inclusive and cohesive society.

“The successful development and launch of HEROES+ would not have been possible without the excellent collaboration between Mencap NI and their partner organisations and I commend them and the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) for getting the project to this stage. I have great confidence in this project’s ability to support young people to thrive and develop their potential as future peace-builders in their communities and I wish the young people every success as they embark on this exciting new project.”

SEUPB CEO Gina McIntyre commented: “I am delighted to welcome the launch of the HEROES+ project. Providing opportunities for all our children and young people to achieve their full potential and enjoy a more positive future is a fundamental objective of the PEACEPLUS Programme.

“I am confident that this project will build upon the significant achievements of the PEACE IV funded HEROES project and enable hundreds more children and young people with diverse abilities to benefit from these innovative and transformational programmes. This is an exciting day and I congratulate everyone involved.”

Speaking at the launch event Grainne Close, Director of Mencap NI said “Mencap in Northern Ireland are delighted along with our partner organisations to be leading on this next phase of peace building and inclusion in Northern Ireland.  Our organisation believes that young people with a learning disability have a very positive role to play as peace builders and feel that HEROES+ is a step further in recognising the importance of this opportunity. 

“This project is an important one for Mencap NI as it allows us to expand upon delivering services to young people with a learning disability across Northern Ireland. The HEROES project supported 290 young people and we want to continue to build on this to make youth services for young people more inclusive and make Northern Ireland the best place to live for someone with a learning disability.  I would like to also thank our funders for their further commitment to continue this work and their recognition of the positive impact of HEROES”.

HEROES+ is one of six projects awarded funding under PEACEPLUS Investment Area 3.2. To date, a total of €45m has been invested in youth projects through PEACEPLUS.

Keep Up To Date

Keep up to date with our latest calls, project results & activities, programme news & events. We won't clutter up your inbox, we'll only email you when we've got something important to share!