St. Oliver Plunkett Youth Club in Crossmaglen is more than just a place for young people to hang out, it’s a community that has been serving the young people of the south Armagh village for many years.
The club offers a variety of activities and programmes for youngsters, including sports, arts and crafts, music, drama, and much more.
The youth club was established in 1975 and has been operating for almost 50 years from its current home on the Culloville Road in Crossmaglen.
The club is the only full-time youth provision in the south Armagh area.
Since its inception, it has been a valuable resource for the young people of Crossmaglen, providing a safe and welcoming environment for them to socialise and develop new skills.
The club has a team of dedicated staff and volunteers who work tirelessly to ensure that the young people who attend are engaged and supported.
One of the key focuses of the youth club is on sports and physical activity. The club has a variety of facilities including a sports hall, football pitch, and outdoor play area.
These facilities enable the young people to engage in a range of sports activities, from basketball to football, volleyball, and much more.
Recognising that not all young people enjoy, or are physically capable of sports and physical activity, the inclusive centre also offers opportunities for children to develop their artistic abilities through drama and music programmes.
The club also helps the young people in Crossmaglen to develop important social skills. It provides them with a safe place to hang out with their friends, and the chance to meet new people and form new friendships.
Speaking to Armagh I, Chairperson, Karena McGahan, said: “Crossmaglen is a socially disadvantaged area it is also rurally isolated so we don’t always have the things that the big cities or the towns have.
“The young people are heavily reliant on the youth service that we offer and provide within this town and we would like to keep that going, possibly including other areas such as Silverbridge, Cullyhanna and Culloville.”
The club also organises regular events and outings, such as trips to the cinema, bowling, and other fun activities. These opportunities help to build positive relationships between young people and their peers, which can have a positive impact on their mental health and wellbeing.
The club’s dedicated staff and volunteers work tirelessly to provide a welcoming environment in which young people can flourish.
Their commitment to the young people of Crossmaglen is truly inspiring, and the club is a testament to the power of community and the importance of supporting young people in achieving their full potential.
Karena continued: “Like any voluntary committee, there is a massive amount of work that goes on behind the scenes and my current committee play a vital role for this club. Without them, there would be no club.
“Over the last few years we have been meeting possibly every week, there’s been something thrown at us every week – from fundraising, budget and applications, it has been relentless. Why do we do it? Well, we simply want to give back to the community.”
This is the first of a four part series kindly sponsored by Armagh Credit Union