£45k minibus-grant aids youth project

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LARNE Borough Council has secured funding for a minibus for use by its Gang Way youth project, which is aimed at tackling anti-social behaviour.

The £45,000 grant from the Department of Justice will enable the council and Larne Community Safety Partnership to arrange activities for young people who might otherwise engage in “risk-taking behaviour” like underage drinking, drug abuse or criminality.

An outreach worker has already been employed to deal with the issues through “early interventions” with young people. The project develops diversionary activities and helps local police to engage with “hard-to-reach” young people.

At their monthly meeting, councillors commended officers for acquiring the funding which, as chief executive Geraldine McGahey explained, had been available only in a “very short window of opportunity”.

Mrs McGahey also said that when the minibus is not being used by Gang Way it may be available for other projects. In December, the Larne Times reported that, following a plea from Cllr Drew Niblock, the council was to examine the possibility of setting up a minibus service to provide young people throughout the borough with better access to the leisure centre and other council facilities.

The DUP man said many residents are finding it increasingly difficult to travel to and from council facilities and proposed that the local authority seek to draw down funding.