Education Minister Michelle McIlveen has officially opened a new £3.3million St Mary’s Youth Club in Derry.
The new build accommodation includes an extensive youth club facility as well as youth and community meeting rooms and staff accommodation.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, the Minister said: “This is a great day for everyone at St Mary’s Youth Club and the wider community in Creggan.
“The new facility provides much needed, fit-for-purpose accommodation for current and future children and young people in the local area.
“It is the 50th anniversary of St Mary’s Youth Club. I am confident this newly built facility will continue to make a significant impact on youth work in the Creggan area for many years to come.
“This has been a significant investment worth in excess of £3 million, showing my Department’s commitment to providing help and support to the Voluntary Youth Sector.”
St Mary’s Youth Club has a membership over 1,000 children, ranging from 5-25 year olds, and operates seven nights a week.
The Youth Club provides personal development, one to one counselling, creative and sporting activities, such as boxing and gymnastics and developmental group work, for the young people within the local area.
The Minister added: “The Youth Club delivers an important service, providing young people with a safe and friendly environment to meet and develop their individual skills.
“This will in turn, allow the young people to enhance these skills within their local community and improve their educational outlook.
“I would like to acknowledge the efforts of all those who made this rebuild possible, including consultants, architects, contractors and officials.
“I would also like to recognise the tireless work and dedication from Stephen Mallet, former centre manager at St Mary’s Youth Club, in helping to bring this project to fruition.”
Speaking at the event, Education Authority Assistant Director of Youth Services, Arlene Kee, said: “St Mary’s Youth Club has provided essential youth work programmes and initiatives within the city.
“The staff and volunteers provide a safe space where children and young people can explore their values and beliefs through very effective programmes and initiatives.
“The most impressive aspect of the youth club is its connection to the community, evidenced through the dedicated management committee, staff and volunteers.
“All who come into contact with this youth club witness this in the tenacity and unapologetic advocacy for all children and young people so that they access the best support and resources to thrive.”Tags: