Building a ‘Sanctuary’ with young people from Derry/Londonderry

In May 2022, staff from Gasyard Wall Feile, (a Delivery Partner of Communities in Transition’s Culture & Identity Programme in Derry/Londonderry), brought six young men from Creggan and Brandywell, along with two youth leaders from St Mary’s Youth Club, to take part in a special project to help create a national memorial structure to those who died during the Covid pandemic.


The project, titled ‘Sanctuary’ took place in Bedworth, England and was delivered in conjunction with international artist David Best. David was responsible for the burning art installation titled ‘Temple’ in Derry/Londonderry in 2015.

During the learning visit the participants were given a mix of training, including construction processes, the use of construction tools and health and safety procedures, which expanded their skill set and enabled them to support the Sanctuary build process. At the grand finale event and ceremonial torching, some of the young people were asked to help light the structure.

Carolyn Mada from Communities in Transition said: “Taking part in this project has been a life-changing experience for the participants and has instilled a sense of worth far beyond the project. It has attracted positive coverage of the young people and organisations working in the area and highlighted the talent and skills of the young men.

“The young people returned from the visit feeling valued about their contribution to the build, and better focused on making positive decisions for their futures, including their own employment and training.”


‘Amazing experience. To be able to come from Creggan and work on a project like this was unbelievable. I never would have thought I would work on something like this. I learned so much in just 5 days and I have been offered the chance of further training and work with one of the companies involved in the project. ’

‘Taking part in this project was my first time leaving Ireland, being on a plane, being away from home. I got the chance to learn new skills, meet new people. It was a great experience’