SAINT Mary’s Youth Club, Portadown, will undergo a £880,000 refurbishment project, it was announced today.
Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland and Education Minister John O’Dowd revealed the plans on a visit to the club to mark the start of the project.
Speaking during his visit, Minister McCausland paid tribute to the work the club have done in the past and hopes the project will help this continue.
“Our young people are tomorrow’s leaders and parents. Supporting and encouraging them is strengthening the fabric for stronger communities,” he said.
“St Mary’s has been offering young people from the area a place to come together, build friendships and contribute to their community for many years.
“The fact that the club has done this in a 40 year old building with a leaking roof is testament to the commitment of both staff and the young people who make use of the facility.
“I hope today’s investment demonstrates my commitment and that of the Northern Ireland Executive in supporting the work of St Mary’s and its contribution to young people.”
The club will see a new roof installed on the building, a first floor extension to provide new office and multi-media room and the remodelling of existing entrance and reception office.
A new passenger lift, new kitchen to social area, new wall, floor and ceiling finishes and new mechanical and electrical services installations including new boiler and heating system will also be provided.
The project, funded by the Department for Social Development and the Department of Education, will work in partnership with the St Mary’s Committee and the Portadown Neighbourhood Renewal Partnership Board.
Minister O’Dowd added: “As children and young people grow and develop, it is vital that they have the opportunity to engage in educational, positive and enjoyable activities outside the school environment which help them build their self-esteem and interpersonal skills.
“Attending youth clubs and other group activities is a great way of achieving this.
“By having an organised setting where they can meet, make friends and take part in structured activities in a safe environment, young people can gain a range of skills and attributes that can improve their employment prospects and complement their learning in school.”