Equipping for Life for a better future

Yes You Can!
Below we set out some background about the Shankill Road area of West Belfast and some reasons why we feel it needs our support.
The Shankill: three Body Blows
The Shankill suffered 3 major body blows at the beginning of the 1970s.

Housing: 4000 houses were knocked down. Only 250 houses were built in return.
Jobs: heavy industry began to disappear the traditional sources of employment were lost.
The Troubles; the beginning of the Troubles, which caused enormous suffering to the people of the Shankill

These factors have all contributed of the difficulties faced by the Shankill and are still felt today.

We were affected by all the publicity about the lack of educational achievement by young men in Loyalist areas. In the past, these men used to have a good chance of getting a job in heavy industry—the shipyard, Mackies, Sirocco works, the aircraft factory, etc.  However, those jobs are not there any longer. Our aim is to support the education of these young people, both to help them find employment and to give them a greater sense of self worth.
What makes Equipping for Life different?
There are three key elements in what makes the work of EfL so special.

We have uncovered a huge and enthusiastic wave of community support to help support children's learning. In just a short time we have attracted the support of more than 150 volunteer tutors who are now going into local schools on a regular basis to work with children from the Shankill area. Feedback has been really outstanding; it's clear that the experience is effective and highly enjoyable both to the pupils and the volunteers alike.

One-to-one support
In the reading classes we have one tutor for each pupil. Some teachers would say that this is the only half hour in the week when children get the full undivided attention of an adult. Our Volunteer Tutors find that the children really thrive on this personal attention.

The spiritual dimension
Everything we do is surrounded by prayer. We have more than 300 prayer partners praying every day in the background for our work. We also have permission from parents to say a prayer with the child before we begin reading. Each Volunteer Tutor is encouraged to pray every day for the children they are taking for reading. This spiritual dimension is the real reason why our ministry has grown so quickly.
Renewing a Community
We suggest that two key ways of renewing a community—helping each other and faith.

Helping each other
Lord Jakobivits was Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth from 1967 until 1991. He had also served in the United States. He said that at one stage in the 20th century Jews in America felt very disadvantaged. But instead of complaining they decided that they would pull themselves up by their own bootlaces - through education, family life, standing by one another and their faith. Today they are one of the strongest, if not the strongest community, in the United States.

Does this say anything to Loyalist communities in Northern Ireland today?

Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Russian Nobel Prize winner for literature, said in 1983, ' the world is on the path to destruction because Man has turned away from God. But if Man will realise the error of his ways and turn back to God again he will find the warm hand of God waiting there to greet him. '
Yes You Can!
In years gone by, these areas of Belfast produced many world class people. Here are some examples:
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Sir Kenneth Branagh, renowned actor and director, from York St.

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Sir James Galway, world famous flautist and conductor, from York St.

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Wayne McCullough was a professional boxer from the Shankill.
He held the WBC bantamweight title from 1995 to 1997, and challenged six times for world titles at super-bantamweight and featherweight.
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Carl Frampton was, until recently, a professional boxer from Tigers Bay, Belfast. He is a former two-weight world champion, having held the unified WBA (Super) and IBF super-bantamweight titles between 2014 and 2016, and the WBA (Super) featherweight title from 2016 to 2017
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George Best from East Belfast.
Possibly the greatest footballer the world has seen.
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Ruby Murray, from Donegal Road, Belfast, who had 6 records in the top 20 at the same time.
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Seven Victoria Crosses from the First World War
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This slot is reserved for the next generation of Belfast children who have a great future ahead of them!

Other notables include:
Van Morrison, the singer, from East Belfast

Sir William Hastings, hotelier, from the Shankill

Sir Nigel Hamilton, former head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service, from the Oldpark Road

Billy Bingham, possibly the greatest ever manager of the Northern Ireland football team, from East Belfast

Stiff Little Fingers, a punk rock band from Belfast

The list is endless.

Our aim is that we will produce many more success stories in the future.

Our message to today's children is, "Yes You Can!"

Please note that this page is still under construction!
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Yes You Can