Get involved: Volunteers needed for youth groups in Graignamanagh

'Brilliant to have someplace to go every Thursday evening, you can hang out with your friends but also try new activities'

Kilkenny People

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Kilkenny People

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sam.matthews@kilkennypeople.ie

Ossory Youth

Ossory Youth: The value of the youth work programmes in Graignamanagh cannot be underestimated

Thursday night and the youth space upstairs in Duiske Hall in Graignamanagh is thronged with young people.

They number approximately 25, are all in second or third year in school, and attend the Ossory Youth-run youth café each Thursday from 8pm to 9.30pm. Two youth workers Criostal Hennessy and Patrick Bookle are manning the café with noise aplenty with a pool table, television and video games all being used, and even time to undertake work.

Believe it or not, the youth café group is the third group of young people to work with Criostal and Patrick in the youth space on each Thursday. The day begins at 4pm with 17 Transition Year students who form the In-Vaders youth group followed at six by the ten members of the In-Betweeners group, each group meeting for ninety minutes. A fourth group, the New Block group of ten first years also meet each Tuesday afternoon.

The youth space upstairs in Duiske Hall was redeveloped by Ossory Youth in 2016 with funding from the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and is a fantastic amenity for young people aged 12 upwards from the town and large hinterland. In establishing the youth programmes, Ossory Youth have developed links with all the primary and secondary schools in the wider area.

“The past two years in Graignamanagh have been fantastic with the youth groups now catering for 50-60 young people each week from the town and a large catchment area covering Goresbridge, St Mullins, Borris, Skeoughvosteen and further afield,” says Criostal.

“Each week brings new applications to get involved, but unfortunately without volunteers, we cannot take on more young people and are turning them away.”

As one of the young people said last week, ‘it’s brilliant to have someplace to go every Thursday evening, you can hang out with your friends but also try new activities, and there was even a full summer of activities this year’.
However, the great success of the youth work programmes in Graignamanagh now means that local volunteers are urgently required to work hand in hand with Criostal and Patrick.

They are needed to sustain the present groups and create further opportunities for young people such as those who cannot access the oversubscribed youth café and who are crying out for a second cafe night each week.
Getting involved as a volunteer is really straightforward, and you would be joining approximately one hundred other Ossory Youth volunteers spread throughout the county.

“We are inviting adults from 18 years upwards to contact us if they think they might like to try volunteering in Graignamanagh, even if they are not sure what’s involved,” says Patrick.

“We will talk them through it without any commitment. The volunteer commitment would be as little as two hours each week and volunteers would not be working alone but alongside youth workers. Working with young people as a volunteer can be really rewarding and great fun.”

The value of the youth work programmes in Graignamanagh cannot be underestimated. Young people benefit from participation in terms of a range of inter-personal skills such as teamwork, leadership, communication and confidence building.

These ‘soft’ skills are particularly pertinent to third level education and employment and thus increase their ability to contribute within their own community and society as a whole.

In common with the young people, volunteers can also gain many skills that are beneficial in other areas of their lives.
To find out more, contact Criostal Hennessy at 087-7080331, chennessy@ossoryyouth.com or Patrick Bookle at 087- 2129006 or pbookle@ossoryyouth.com.