Teenagers from Belfast get taste of life in Portsmouth and Leigh Park

Young people of Big World Impact, Charter NI, Havant Neighbourhood Police team and Havant Fire and Rescue Service 

Picture: Sarah Standing (160363-3766)
Young people of Big World Impact, Charter NI, Havant Neighbourhood Police team and Havant Fire and Rescue Service Picture: Sarah Standing (160363-3766)
Jackie Evans                        Picture : Habibur Rahman

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  • Exchange trip organised by two charities hoping to help young people on estates
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THEY come from estates 300 miles apart and their accents are as different as chalk and cheese.

But teenagers from Leigh Park and east Belfast found lots of common ground and had fun as they took part in a football tournament together.

The event at Havant College yesterday was the finale of three days of activities across the Portsmouth area.

The initiative was organised by the charity Big World Impact (BWI), which aims to help improve the aspirations of young people in Leigh Park.

Later this year, charity Charter for Northern Ireland, which is working for similar goals in Belfast, is hoping to return the favour and host a group of teenagers from Leigh Park.

The Belfast teenagers started their trip by visiting Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard, where they learned about careers in the Royal Navy and Royal Marines.

Then they visited HMS Collingwood in Fareham, where they took part in physical leadership training and team-building exercises.

Yesterday, they got the chance to meet local boxer Joel McIntyre at Leigh Park Amateur Boxing Club.

Nathan Walker, 18, from Belfast, said he enjoyed the visit.

‘The area we are from is actually quite quiet,’ he said.

‘We went round the big outlet mall yesterday and did a bit of bowling and shopping.

‘It’s a good area. It’s 10 times different from where I live.’

Yiannis Razzell, 13, and Lily Moore, 13, are with BWI and helped to organise the football tournament.

Yiannis, from Leigh Park, said: ‘It’s been interesting and a good experience.

‘I have enjoyed the atmosphere where everyone is really happy and cheery.’

Julian Wadsworth, community engagement manager for BWI, said: ‘They were really enthused by what they saw in the Royal Navy careers. There are so many job opportunities and you don’t need to have an academic background.’

The exchange trip was made possible thanks to the Asda Foundation and Active Communities Network.