In the areas of Coleraine, Portstewart and Portrush, there is a combined, estimated Catholic population of 6,000 and there has been a tradition of partnership in youth work since 2005 with the establishment of the ‘Triangle Parishes Project’. Initially supported by Peace II funding the three parishes employed a full-time youth worker to develop a strategy for youth ministry in the area. This involved the foundation of a Search group and Praise Band and the development of the local STAR Club as well as work within local schools. Pilgrimages were organised to Medjugorje and outreach programmes to Romania in partnership with Habitat for Humanity Northern Ireland. Currently the Peace III programme is facilitating ongoing training for young people and adults across five parishes as part of a ‘Living Church’ pilot project. The STAR Club continues on a weekly basis facilitated by local trained young people many of whom show strong leadership qualities. The nature of youth work is constantly evolving and this bodes well for the future.
In his role as Chaplain to the University of Ulster at Coleraine Fr. Raymond Mc Cullagh has had the privilege of working in partnership with Habitat for Humanity N.I. Since 2005 he had organised several student teams to work in Ethiopia as part of Habitat’s Global Village Programme. This partnership has funded 150 houses over two consecutive three year cycles and involved working with families affected by leprosy. His students work together with homeowners to build houses, community and hope among some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people. Fr. Raymond is pictured in the photograph with the student Habitat Ethiopia Team 2012.