At a recent meeting of the Letterkenny Lions Club, President Dearbhla Kelly was delighted to present euro 500 to Letterkenny Youth Club President, Paddy Delap. The funds were partly raised by the Fancy Dress Fun Day at the Vestry organised by the Letterkenny Lions and spearheaded by Dearbhla who was ably supported by Hazel Russell of the Rotary Club and represent the Lions Club’s ongoing commitment to supporting valuable community projects.
The Letterkenny Youth Club was formally founded three years ago by Paddy Delap, Caroline Doherty, Brenda McClafferty, Oliver Duffy and James Friel to provide young people with somewhere to go in their free time. In reality the project has taken about 15-16 years to get off the ground and involved input from local clergy, County Councillors and an active committee.
The headmaster of Scoil Colmcille, Mr Cannon, provided the use of the Boys’ school and about 40-45 attended initially. Over time however, the space proved too small.
Various other options were explored and eventually the Club was established using the Vestry at St. Conal’s Hospital. The facilities proved to be excellent with room for football, four table tennis tables, two pool tables, two TV games and a dart board.
The Club caters for 10-18 year old boys and girls, but it’s the mainly 10-16 age group that attends the 7-9pm Monday and Friday night sessions. Supervision is provided by volunteers many of whom have already been vetted by the Gardai with the remainder undergoing the process. There are huge benefits to belonging to a club like this – social, teamwork and leadership skills are all developed in a safe environment.
Going out and joining in the activities of the Youth Club with real friends makes a welcome change from the virtual world of the internet, especially for parents!
There is a registration fee of euro 10 p.a. and a charge of two euro per night. Each child must sign in and cannot leave unless properly collected, so there is excellent control.
Needless to say running a club like this costs money - about euro 100 per night. It is funded by sponsors’ donations from the Letterkenny Lions Club, the local Council, the Rotary Club and Credit Unions and fund-raising activities e.g. flag days, golf classics and the infamous golf ball drop organised by the Letterkenny Lions and the Rotary Club.
Key to the Youth Club’s future is the establishment of a Development Fund to build a proper club house. A site for an innovative building on stilts has been proposed in the Cattle Market opposite the Girls’ school. Cost estimates are high so ongoing practical support from volunteers and organisations such as the the Letterkenny Lions continues to be needed.
The Letterkenny Youth Club is closed for the Summer but will reopen in September. The Youth Club always needs volunteers. Anyone interested should contact Paddy Delap- at email@example.com
The Letterkenny Lions Club is always delighted to welcome new members. For more information contact Anne Condon on 087 418 6305