first_imgA scheme that has helped 17,000 unemployed young people in Donegal and the North come together to build bridges and gain new skills in North America and Europe is being axed.The Wider Horizons Project, which was set up in 1985, is run by the International Fund for Ireland. The last groups to head abroad are being trained by the Tyrone Donegal Partnership, based in Omagh. Twenty-one young people – including seven from County Donegal – all aged between 18 and 28 years will fly out to Pittsburgh in the United States today.They will be placed with host families and spend six weeks working at a variety of jobs in the Pennsylvania city.Alannah Phillips, 22, said she could not wait “to get a new experience away from home”.“I feel I need a new challenge to get myself going because there isn’t anything here anymore,” she added. After this group of 21 people leave today, there will be just three more groups going abroad before the scheme closes for good.Each, like the Pittsburgh group, will be made up of seven Protestants and seven Catholics from Northern Ireland and seven others from border counties in the Irish Republic.Hugo Sweeney, the chief executive of the Tyrone Donegal Partnership, said axing the scheme now could not come at a worse time.“Now more than ever it is needed,” he told BBC Newsline last night.“We are oversubscribed. We find it frustrating that at this time, with high levels of youth unemployment and the lack of opportunities for them, this great controlled programme of sending young people overseas was invaluable.” The International Fund for Ireland declined the BBC’s request for an interview.It issued a statement saying that “with decreasing resources available, the board of the fund has to take difficult decisions on the commitments it can make.”Most of the funding is expected to go towards trying to remove the peace walls in the North – ending the cross-Border aspect of the schemes.Jim Lamb, the president of the Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh, said: “We help train them to work. “They get up, travel, go to work and use those new skills to get jobs when they return.”Mr Lamb is now lobbying US Congress members to try to find extra funds to save the project from extinction.ANGER AS PEACE FUND AXES CASH TO DONEGAL JOBS PROJECT was last modified: April 23rd, 2013 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:ANGER AS PEACE FUND AXES CASH TO DONEGAL JOBS PROJECTdonegalwider horizonslast_img

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