Horizons Programme

The Horizons programme is a youth leadership programme that aims to reduce educational under-achievement and develop youth leadership within local communities. 


Horizons Logo

The Horizons programme offers young people aged between 15 and 17 years from across Northern Ireland, the opportunity to explore different cultures and personal growth by providing international experiences, career development through work placements and changing communities through youth leadership.

The programme will provide opportunities such as:

  • Career development, pathways and accreditation
  • Increased health and wellbeing outcomes
  • Exploring challenges through outdoor learning and overcoming personal fears

Criteria for applicants

The criteria for applying is based on five key attributes and themes, young people who are applying must meet a minimum of three allowing them to proceed.

Targeted participants are young people who have,

  1. Groupwork experience or membership of a group or youth organisation, these have been discussed and the application process covers a wide range of areas where young people may be involved.
  2. Demonstrated leadership potential within the community or their local youth/sports or church-based organisation.  We are seeking young people who may be a leader within their peer group, on occasions this could be seen as a negative way of working depending on the circumstances, but the programme will develop the young person holistically and challenge the norms within society creating positive and lasting change within communities.
  3. A willingness to advocate on behalf of others, a young person who may be a role-model, community champion and is willing to step forward creating a voice for their peers and highlighting real life issues.
  4. A desire to meet others and experience new opportunities, is willing to make new friends, give back to their community and have a role in the design and delivery of the programme at local level.

A passion for positive change within themselves, their family and friendship circle and across the wider community.  We aim to create positive leaders who can inspire others and create lasting change.

Youth Worker Contact Details

Please send your application to the youth worker for your area below or contact them should you require any further information regarding the programme.

North Locality

Coleraine: James McCaughan -  [email protected]

The Glens: Tara McHugh - [email protected]

Ballymena North: Adhamh Dolan -  [email protected]

Ballymena South: Ross McKenzie - [email protected]

Carrickfergus: Fiona McKee -  [email protected]

Larne: Valerie McKenzie -  [email protected]

Rathcoole: Robert Topping -  [email protected]

Skeoge: Treise McCauley - [email protected]               

Strabane: Nadine McBride - [email protected]                            

Waterside Derry: Yvonne Giboney - [email protected]             

South West and East Locality

East Belfast: Kieran Taggart - [email protected]  

North Belfast: Jeannine Brady - [email protected]

South Belfast: Fionnuala McGinn -  [email protected]

Lisnaskea: Sean McCusker -  [email protected]

Cookstown: Emma Devlin -  [email protected]

Lurgan: Paddy Toland - [email protected]  

Conlig/Kilcooley: Steven Storey - [email protected]

Newcastle/Downpatrick: Paul Fitzsimons -  [email protected]

Newry: Niamh McNamee - [email protected]

Horizons Team Contact Details

Please contact the Horizons team if you have any queries regarding the programme.


Aileen O’Callaghan – Youth Advisor Fair Start – [email protected]

Jason Perry – Senior Youth Worker 3 -  [email protected]

Andrea Walker – Area Youth Worker 2 – [email protected]

Demi Clements – Area Youth Worker 2 – [email protected]

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a cost to applicants?

There is no cost to applicants, all items and resources will be provided by the Horizons team.

How long does the programme run for?

The programme runs for 2 years running from February 2022 to December 2023.

How can I access support when I am on the programme?

Each participant will have a dedicated youth worker within their project area and additional support will be given where needed by the regional Horizons team.  Any of the Horizons staff can be contacted at any stage via the emails provided above.

What will I get out of being part of the Horizons programme?

The programme will provide participants with Horizons branded clothing.  Participants will also be given the opportunity to gain a variety of experiences including international and residential trips. 

How often will we meet on the programme?

Each group will meet once a week in their local project groups. Once a month participants will meet as a hub with 2 other projects from the surround areas and there will be a regional meet up event once every 3 months with the entire Horizons programme.

What type of activities will we get to do?

There is a range of team building activities to enhance personal social development.  There will also be opportunities to get involved in social action projects, gain qualifications and social enterprise opportunities.  In year 2, participants will be given the opportunity to experience work place placements and explore career paths.

I’m a youth worker, I have a young person who would benefit from joining, how can I put them forward to join the programme?

Youth workers can contact the designated youth worker in their area who will provide information on how to nominate or suggest an applicant. 

What will I need to participate in this programme?

There are no individual requirements, this programme is open to any young person aged 15 – 17 years old to apply.  As international travel is part of the experience, participants will need a valid passport however the team will give all young people and parents plenty of notice before any trips are organised.

Last updated: 04/05/2023