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St Mary’s Youth Centre bridging the cross-community divide in Portadown

St. Mary’s Youth Centre in Portadown is a vibrant and welcoming community centre that provides a wide range of services and activities for young people in the area.

The centre is staffed by a team of dedicated professionals who are committed to helping young people grow and develop in a safe and supportive environment.

The club was first established in 1959 with the aim of promoting the personal and social development of children and young people in the Obins Street area and its environs in North West Portadown.

The current centre was built in 1974 and was later refurbished in 2013, when it had undergone works to update disability access and extensions to facilitate a growing need for the provision.

St. Mary’s Youth Centre has a keen focus on community building, socialising and cross-community work. Providing young people with opportunities to connect with their peers, build relationships, and make a positive impact on their community is something the team take immense pride in.

Leader in charge, Ryan Quinn says “the club has a long and proud history supporting the youth within the Portadown area.

“We work with young people aged 8 – 18 years of age primarily from a catholic background but we are proud of our cross-community work within the town and our doors are always open to everyone from different backgrounds and communities.

“By working with other groups within Portadown our overarching aim is to engage the youth to share experiences and perspectives, and gain a better understanding of the world around them.

“This can help to break down barriers and stereotypes, and create a more inclusive and tolerant society.

“By collaborating on projects and initiatives, we can also achieve more than we could on our own, and make a positive impact on our communities”.

One of the key features of St. Mary’s Youth Centre is its focus on education and skill-building with the center offering a range of programs and classes that are designed to help young people develop new skills.

“Our main aim is to be a safe haven for the young people of the area and provide guidance as young people as the transition into adulthood.

“We offer programmes covering a range of topics from health and wellbeing to gambling awareness and drug addition. These programmes are based on the needs of young people within the area”.

This is the third of a four part series kindly sponsored by Armagh Credit Union

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