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Youth clubs a vital part of young people’s learning and development – O’Dowd

6 July, 2011 - by John O'Dowd

Youth club facilities across the north play an integral role in the learning and development of local young people.

That was the message from Education Minister, John O’Dowd, as he visited Omagh Youth Centre and Omagh Boys and Girls Club today.

Speaking about local youth services, the Minister said: “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 and which help them build their self-esteem and interpersonal skills. Youth clubs right across the north of Ireland deliver this important service, in both statutory and voluntary settings, to over 152,000 children and young people aged from four through to 25.

“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. This is why my Department commits around £30million each year to funding youth services in 1,900 settings across the north.”

The Minister added: “Both Omagh Youth Centre and Omagh Boys and Girls Club have been a central part of the community for many years. The organisations provide a range of positive and educational activities, including community relations projects, schemes for young mothers and advice on issues of concern such as drugs awareness, suicide prevention and sexual health.

“I commend the management, staff and everyone connected with both clubs for the hard work they put in through the year for the benefit of local young people. I would also pay particular tribute to those who volunteer their time, especially the junior leaders who have passed through the clubs and now help with younger members. They set an excellent example and provide inspiration to young people and staff alike.”

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