Group pictured at the launch of the Lifestart SOOC (Shaping Ourselves And Our Children) project.
‘Shaping Ourselves and Our Children’ (SOOC), an innovative cross-border parenting programme was launched recently.
The SOOC programme which is supported by the EU’s PEACE IV programme and managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) was developed by the Lifestart Foundation and its partners - Lifestart Services Ltd, Sligo Family Support Centre, the Dunluce Family Centre, Barnardos and The Junction.
The launch took place at The Junction, Bishop Street, Derry and guest speakers at the event were Gina McIntyre, CEO of the Special EU Programmes Body, Maria MacInnes, Child and Family Agency, Peter Walker, Social Inclusion Unit, Health Service Executive and Dr Pauline Mc Clenaghan, Executive Director Lifestart Foundation Ltd.
The event was chaired by Ursula Birthistle who chairs the SOOC project cross-community Steering Group.
The SOOC programme aims to support parents of young children to create a home conducive to good child social and emotional development, inclusiveness and a respect for social and cultural diversity.
The project partners will deliver 240 interactive SOOC parenting programmes within nine areas of Northern Ireland and the border counties, including Donegal and Leitrim.
The recruitment of parents will begin in April.
Welcoming the project Gina McIntyre, CEO of the Special EU Programmes Body said: “The cycle of mistrust, division and fear can be passed from one generation to the next.
“This project will help to break that cycle by delivering a child development and cultural diversity programme, where parents will learn how their behaviours and parenting styles can impact upon their children’s development.
“What better way to deliver upon one of the core objectives of the PEACE Programme than to support people affected by the legacy of the conflict. The project will ensure that children learn from their parents to embrace difference and diversity,” she said.
Pictured in the photo, from left, seated, Ursula Birthistle, Chairperson of the Steering Group, and Dr Pauline McClenaghan, Executive Director, Lifestart Foundation, standing, Veronica Keenan, event co-ordinator, Marie Kee, project partner, Gina McIntyre, EU Special Programmes Body, Maureen Hetherington, Co-ordinator of The Junction, Peter Walker, Community Worker for Social Inclusion, Maria MacInnes, TUSLA, Margaret McCann, project partner, and Emma Holmes, event co-ordinator.