Ballsgrove Youth Club addresses lack of services in area

The lack of services in Ballsgrove has led to the opening of a new Junior Club in an effort to provide an outlet for children aged 8-12.

Starting before Christmas, the Ballsgrove Youth Club is run by four volunteers – Chloe Kelly, Emily Woods, Barbara Carton and Pauline McCauley – who work together each week to ensure they provide a safe and fun environment for children to attend.

Ballsgrove Youth Club is under the direct supervision of Youth Work Ireland, Louth.

Chloe said: “In our first week just before Christmas we only had two young people and since then we have been welcoming new members every week, now we are over 30 young people involved in service every week.”

Running every Wednesday at the Loaves and Fishes Community Center, they have had to split the pack at two different times due to increased interest.

From 6 to 7 pm they welcome the younger group of 8 to 10 year olds, while an hour later, from 7 to 8 pm, the older group of 10 to 12 year olds attend.

Chloe initially teamed up with a youth worker from Youth Ireland Louth, establishing this youth club in response to the lack of services for young people in the Ballsgrove area.

“It was sorely needed in the community, especially after COVID, young people have been in lockdown for the last two years, a little bit of social interaction is needed.”

At the beginning of each week, volunteers and children participate in Pit and Peak, a simple activity that allows volunteers to understand how everyone’s week has been. A Peak is something nice that happened during the week, while a Hole is something not so nice.

Chloe added: “We recently had an art student, Rachel Reay, with us for four weeks and she provided an amazing children’s book illustration workshop. The young people loved it and every week they improve their artistic and creative skills.”

Now that the weather has improved, the group has taken the activities outside for a change.

Other activities include arts and crafts, team building exercises, quizzes and much more.

“We have high hopes for this youth club and are very excited about what the future holds for all of us at Balls grove youth club.

“The feedback in the community has been great as people feel there is not much for children to do these days to keep them busy and off the streets. It is good to be able to contribute something positive to the lives of young people. It has been amazing for the volunteers to see each young person grow, make friends and excel at things they have never tried before.”

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