In 2001, Malachy McBurney, NIDYA worked in conjunction with the University of Ulster’s Youth Community Team to publish a research report called ‘Big D, wee d: The Lives of Deaf Young People in Northern Ireland’. The report produced a list of key findings and recommendations for NIDYA to take forward, to improve the lives of deaf young people in Northern Ireland. The report was launched at a conference, attended by the then Education Minister, Martin McGuinness.
A Senior Management Team; Barry Campbell (Development Manager), Caroline Doherty (Youth Coordinator), Michael Johnston (Training Coordinator) and Jean Doyle (Fundraising Officer) from 2001 to 2007 enabled the Association to provide a range of services and projects for young deaf people all over Northern Ireland. The following services were developed:
A youth service; running local children’s and youth clubs in Belfast and Derry and residential events in different regions of Northern Ireland;
A training service; provision of personal development, youth leadership and youth work training programmes, informal education workshops, deaf awareness and sign language training;
A mentor service; training adults to become mentors, to provide guidance and support to deaf children and young people;
A volunteer service; offering opportunities for individuals to carry out volunteer work in our services and projects.
In 2003, NIDYA celebrated its 15th Anniversary by hosting two events; an event at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast. Drama and signed song performances from deaf children and young people were in display for those in attendance. A dinner dance event took place at the Hilton Hotel in Belfast, attended by past and present members.
During this decade, at one point there were 18 staff members, employed by the Association to deliver excellent services for deaf children and young people. Staff members were supported by a team of volunteers; many of them had an OCN Youth Work qualification. Caroline Doherty became the first deaf person in Northern Ireland to achieve a Degree in Youth Community Work.
NIDYA became a member of the British Deaf Association’s Deaf Youth Workers Forum in 2003 and participated in a range of projects, for example the Irish UK Youth Camp, a partnership established by the British Deaf Association and the Irish Deaf Youth Association. NIDYA hosted a Deaf Youth Workers Forum Conference in 2005, attended by Deaf Youth Workers from the UK and Ireland. Michael Johnston, an employee at NIDYA from 1999 to 2007, was the Deaf Youth Workers Forum’s Chairman from 2004 to 2007. NIDYA coordinated an Irish UK Youth Camp in 2006, attended by deaf young people from five different countries in the UK and Ireland.
In 2006/2007, the Association went through a transitional period which saw the departure of several staff members including the Development Manager, Barry Campbell and the Senior Management Team. The Derry Office closed down in 2007 but services in the North West continued to be delivered by staff members based in the Belfast Office.
Sue Barry and Stephen McWhinney took over the day to day management of the Association from 2007 to 2008 until a new Development Manager, Simon Rea was appointed in 2009. The highlights of the final years in the 2000s were: The continual of the Belfast Children’s Club and Belfast Youth Club, running on a weekly basis;
The Mentoring Service continued to succeed and support many deaf children and young people all over Northern Ireland;
A training project funded by Proteus, enabled young deaf people to gain new qualifications in Youth Work, Computer Information Technology and Sign Language;
A Transitions/Floating Support Project funded by the Housing Executive, supporting young deaf people in North West Belfast who required assistance in independent living.