A West Tyrone youth club is celebrating a £500,000 refurbishment that will have a significant impact upon the lives of young people in the local community.
The newly refurbished Carrickmore Youth Centre was officially opened by Minister for Education John O’Dowd who met with youth club members, staff, Advisory Committee members and volunteers at the Centre. The Centre has served the people of Carrickmore and surrounding areas since 1964 as a voluntary club and since 1973 under the auspices of the former WELB, now the Education Authority (EA).
Welcoming all gathered at the event, EA Head of Youth Service, Gerard Doran, thanked the Department of Education for its capital funding of 493k towards the refurbishment of the building. The funding was used to upgrade the sports hall and create a viewing gallery, as well as improving the front facade of the building and providing a pedestrian bridge which will improve disabled access.
He said: “The newly refurbished youth centre was completed earlier this year, providing an exclusive space for young people to meet socially and participate in fun activities designed to meet their personal and social development needs, in a supportive, safe and positive environment. In addition to the superb refurbishment, the learning environment has been advanced to such a high standard that exceptional opportunities are now available to support young people to realise their full potential.” He added: “I am in no doubt that Carrickmore Youth Centre will continue to attract young people from the local community thus ensuring the Centre thrives for many years to come.”
Guest speaker, Minister for Education, John O’Dowd, said: “The education of young people can be greatly enhanced through non-formal learning opportunities provided by youth work. Organisations such as Carrickmore provide a setting where young people can meet, make friends and take part in structured activities in a safe environment.”
Chair of Carrickmore Youth Centre Advisory Committee, Julie-Ann Grimes, commended the EA Youth Service for its determination to undertake the refurbishment and reinvigorate the service for young people in the Carrickmore area. She said: “It is heartening to see that the refurbished facility has been reopened with a new programme and with community representation on the Advisory Committee to ensure that the local needs are reflected in the curriculum on offer.”
She added: “I would like to take this opportunity to praise the personal commitment of the young people involved in preparing for this day; you should be proud of your dedication in working together, achieving together and having fun while doing so.”
The Youth Club has 248 registered members and operates from Monday to Friday, 5.00 pm to 10.00 pm. It offers extensive recreational activities for young people from the age of 5 to 25 years; catering for a range of young people’s needs, including personal and social development programmes. In addition, the Centre hosts SureStart and adult development programmes on a weekly basis.
New members are always welcome to join. Please contact the Youth Worker-in-Charge, Colm McGurk, by email firstname.lastname@example.org or tel: 028 8076 1310.
Image: Keynote speaker Minister for Education John O'Dowd is pictured with EA Head of Youth Service Gerard Doran, Senior Youth Club Members Neamh McGarrity, Conor McCann and EA Chairperson Sharon O'Connor at the Official Opening of the Newly Refurbished Carrickmore Youth Centre.