The news came during a visit by Mr Weir to the senior campus of Carrickfergus Academy today.
The programme of activities aimed at providing much-needed support to children and young people will be rolled out during July and August.
The focus of the programme will be on providing opportunities for children and young people to re-engage with their peers; health and wellbeing with an emphasis on the outdoors; providing opportunities to reflect on their personal journey during Covid-19 using supportive and creative methods; enable parents, young people and others within the community to celebrate events and achievements to promote self-esteem and hope; and re-engaging volunteers whose dedication, commitment and skills are vital in helping to deliver youth services.
Applications to the fund will open later today for Education Authority-registered local and regional youth service providers and other voluntary/community organisations.
Minister Weir said: “I am investing £5 million in this programme as a direct response to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on our children and young people. Eligible organisations will be able to provide a range of fun activities aimed at engaging and re-energising children and young people (aged 4 – 25 years) and those who generously volunteer their services as leaders.
“I am confident that the summer youth activity programme will help support young people as society emerges from the impact of the pandemic. It will focus on supporting their health and wellbeing and in so doing help prepare them for their return to school in September after the summer holidays. I want to again thank the youth sector for their work in helping our children and young people through recent months as they look ahead to a brighter future.”
The summer youth activity fund will be administered by the Education Authority’s (EA) Youth Service and will be open for applications from 5pm today (May 10, 2021).
Any activities will be carried out in line with public health advice.