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Home > Aspire – ‘Changing lives to make communities safer’.

Ritchie, Joan and McGreevy, Gail (2019) Aspire – ‘Changing lives to make communities safer’. Irish Probation Journal , 16 , pp. 119-134.


The Fresh Start Agreement of November 2015 set out the Northern Ireland Government’s commitment to tackling paramilitary activity and associated criminality. It set up an independent three-person panel to make recommendations on the disbandment of paramilitary groups. In response to the panel’s report, the Probation Board for Northern Ireland (PBNI) set up the Aspire Project in September 2017.


The aim of Aspire is to reduce criminality and risk-taking behaviour in men aged 16–30 who are marginalised from communities and at risk of becoming involved in paramilitarism. One year after establishment, the impact of Aspire was measured by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA). The findings demonstrate positive outcomes and highlight challenges and recommendations for the future direction of the project. This paper provides an introduction to the Aspire Project, describes its context and rationale and highlights the findings of the evaluation.

Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
All substances, Substances (not alcohol/tobacco)
Intervention Type
Harm reduction, Crime prevention
Page Range
pp. 119-134
The Probation Service

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