Young people in the Factory area of Larne are benefiting from a newly refurbished youth club thanks to a small grant awarded by the Youth Justice Agency.
The grant has enabled the Factory Community Forum to enhance its computer suite for use by its members.
The youth club, which is based in Upper Waterloo Road, now has over 70 registered members and provides a safe and secure environment for teenagers and pre-secondary school age groups, giving them somewhere to go and reducing their risk of becoming involved in anti-social behaviour. The club has received widespread support from parents and residents in the area.
It’s not all about being stuck indoors playing computer games, however, as there are plenty of opportunities to get out and about and learn new skills. The forum regularly organises outdoor events including day trips, a recent clean up of the area, football matches and its very own talent show, the X-Factory.
Gareth McConnell, community development worker with the forum, said: “The small grant has proved a real boost and the numbers attending the youth club continue to grow. The wider community can also make use of the facilities, with residents in the area often using the computers during the day to search the web for employment and training opportunities.
“Our premises are also available for a variety of other groups who meet here, including a mums and tots group and a senior citizens club. We are also in discussion with the council about involving our young people in a number of other initiatives in the area.”
Gareth added that he has also agreed to provide placements for young people engaged with the Youth Justice Agency who are required to undertake community reparation.