by Ciara Maguire
A NUMBER of community groups in Strabane have come together in partnership to plan and strategise for the development of youth provision across the town.
The newly-formed Strabane Youth Consortium is made up of several community representatives who have come together with the primary aim of creating better youth provision in the town.
It includes representatives from Strabane Access Youth Engagement (AYE), Melmount Community Forum, Fountain Street Community Development Association, Springhill Park Area Residents and Youth Association and Lisnafin/Ardnalee/Trust Community Association. It’s remit will be to scope current provision and identify further needs
Speaking on behalf of the grouping, Teresa Stewart, project manager at Strabane AYE explained: “The stark reality at present is that there is very little formal youth provision in Strabane and this can be attributed to the absence of partnership and collaborative working across the geographical areas of the town.
“The landscape for community development is changing and the community sector needs to adapt and change too so we’re extremely excited that the setting up of this Consortium is the first step in doing that.”
The Consortium has held a number of meetings and identified short term immediate actions such as securing the funding from Education Authority (EA) and Department for Communities (DfC) Neighbourhood Renewal fund to employ two part-time youth workers who will work across four community hubs to ensure as many young people as possible aged 12-18 years benefit from structured youth provision/drop in facilities.
“All of the groups involved are looking forward to a bright and successful future for the Consortium and are hoping to set their sights on securing lots more funding to deliver on a bigger and better scale very soon,” Teresa added.