THE Education Authority (EA) has revealed that it is looking at two new options for the provision of a new ‘young adult centre’ in Strabane.
In correspondence with local MLA, Daniel McCrossan, the Department of Education said that any such facility would provide teenagers in the 14+ age range with “opportunities to participate in youth led creative activities, promoting the ethos of participation and active citizenship that will help to contribute to personal and social development.”
The options currently being considered by the EA are as follows: A lease or rental agreement using fit for purpose commercial premises in Strabane town and the development of a new building.
“The EA has advised that it is in talks with a local football club (Strabane Athletic), which is currently seeking to develop a site adjacent to Holy Cross College, to explore the possibility of building on that site,” the missive to Mr McCrossan explained.
However the letter also tempered any potential excitement that progress on either option would depend on a number of factors, namely, “the completion of an economic appraisal and availability of capital funding.”
Reported by the Strabane Chronicle when this concept was first mooted back in March, the potential of having a young adult centre was widely welcomed.
This week, Daniel McCrossan said he remains glad that the Department of Education and Education Authority have prioritised the needs of young adults in the town.
“Strabane is literally crying out for a facility like this,” he said. “In considering the levels of unemployment, mental ill health and anti-social behaviour in the town, this facility can only be welcomed. Not only will it provide advice and direction, but it will also provide simply something to do for our youth. There is a huge lack of facilities in the town and I hope this facility goes some way in providing this.
“Over the past few months I have been lobbying the department hard on all fronts to ensure that this project comes to fruition. I will continue this work and engage with the department in the coming months.”
However local youth worker, Teresa Stewart said a more “concrete” commitment by the EA is required.
“Definitely, this is a great idea and I said that at the time,” she said.
“But there has been no money ring-fenced for this and that is obviously a concern. What we need is a more concrete scheme from the department. More of a commitment in real terms. And that means money.”
Posted: 9:00 am July 1, 2018