Carrick-on-Suir youth project celebrates its 20th birthday

Aileen Hahesy

Reporter:

Aileen Hahesy

Carrick-on-Suir youth project celebrates its 20th birthday

Foroige representatives cutting the cake at the Carrick-on-Suir NYP 20th birthday party.

Carrick-on-Suir Foróige Neighbourhood Youth Project's 20th birthday was celebrated by a large crowd of staff and members past and present at the Carraig Hotel. 

The anniversary party on Saturday, November 10 was the second event marking the Youth Project's 20th anniversary. The first was a hugely successful family fun day in Ballylynch in September. 

The Carraig's function room was decorated with photos and memorabilia from local Foróige/NYP events, excursions and projects including trophies and awards won by NYP members over the years. 

 The Neighbourhood Youth Project started  in Carrick-on-Suir in 1997 and grew out of the Foróige Youth Club founded in Ballylynch by Elaine Wall, Annabelle Fleming and others.

Members past and present spoke at the event of their experiences and achievements in the Youth Project and how their involvement in it enhanced their personal development and confidence and got them involved in working  for their local community. 

Ann Howard, NYP  Project Leader, who is currently on a career break,  was among the guests at the event.   

She  is one of the longest serving NYP staff members with a career in youth work spanning over 25 years. She said the NYP was an amazing organisiation to work in and it was going from strength to strength.

 She said the young people attending the NYP were a joy to work with and always enthusiastic, kind and hardworking. 

Ann also spoke of the great relationship they had with the young people, who lived in the former Bridgewater House Centre for Asylum Seekers & Refugees, and how they enjoyed the sharing of cultures. 

 Young NYP members sang and played the accordion and others gave speeches on how much Foroige/NYP meant to them. 

Many help  run the NYP Youth Cafés based in Kickham Street and Ballylynch. They have also fundraised and volunteered in community projects. One of those projects was the Angels in Wellies group,  led by Aisling Dunphy, who worked tirelessly to assist Carrick-on-Suir people affected by the 2016 flooding crisis in the town by providing hot meals, comfort and support for them. 

"Sitting with Sadie" was another community project spearheaded by the NYP's young members. They visited Sadie Hilton an elderly lady in Carrick once a week for a chat and tea. 

Daryl Walsh Youth Officer spoke about his journey through Foróige over the last 10 years. 

He recalled the summer programmes they all loved and the great team-work involved in resurfacing the soccer pitch and setting up goal posts in Ballylynch a few years ago. They then played a match with local gardai.  

Also present at the celebration was Foróige Senior Youth Officer for the South East Region Sarah Dunleavy, who was one of Carrick’s first Foróige members Sarah, a former resident of Ballylynch, said she was delighted to give back something after so many wonderful years she enjoyed as a member of Foroige during her childhood and teenage years. 

The evening concluded with the cutting of the birthday cake,  which the guests enjoyed alont with homemade refreshments and hot savouries. The NYP's  young people met up with many old friends on the night, sharing stories and planning many more adventures ahead.