Ballykeel Youth Centre now open after refurbishment

Jane Witherspoon

Reporter:

Jane Witherspoon

Ballykeel Youth Centre re-opened last week after a major refurbishment.

The youth centre, which has been serving the Ballykeel community for 40 years had many of its areas rejuvenated.

The work includes a new social area and ICT room, plus innovative youth mental health rooms for the 'Flare Project.'

Work began to transform the centre in March, with some staff working out of the Waveney Youth Centre, and young people only being able to use a small section of the building.

From June of this year the centre has been closed to facilitate the refurbishment, therefore young people and staff were really looking forward to getting back to the building.

Many young people rely on the youth centre on a daily basis.

Running clubs and activities five nights of the week, around 100 youths use the facilities.

Monday and Friday nights are for nine to twelve year olds, while Tuesday and Thursdays are the senior nights for teenagers.

On Wednesday the centre is available for all on their 'split' night.

Run by the Education Authority Youth Service, the centre is a valued part of the community and provides important life skill training for young people, as well as providing them with activities.

It features a youth leadership project and has a youth committee.

Amie Mott, centre based youth worker for the Education Authority told the Guardian everyone was excited for the opening.

She said: "The refurbishment is really lovely, and was greatly needed.

“The young people have been using this building for 40 years so the enhancement was definitely needed.

“In fact, some of the young people who are currently using the centre have told us their parents actually used it years ago, so in a lot of cases we are actually working with the second generation of Ballykeel young people!”

Amie concluded by stressing the imporance and relevance of the centre to the community.

She said: "This is an important facility in the heart of Ballykeel, and we hope the new facilities will encourage even more young people to use the building."

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