YOUNG girls in Ballinacurra Weston now have their very own hangout space following the official opening of the refurbished ‘Girls Room’ at the West End Youth Centre.
The idea for the novel project came from the young people of the centre who were tired of youth spaces being designed almost exclusively with boys in mind.
“I suppose the main idea was that the rest of the building is quite orientated towards the boys. You’ve the sports hall where usually we have the soccer going on or handball. And the games room has a pool table and table football,” said William Priestley manager of the centre.
“So the girls kind of had a chat themselves and thought it would be a good idea if we had an area that was more orientated towards what they were interested in,” he added.
As a result, the young girls formed a small committee and set about drawing up a plan.
Each member had an important job to do from picking colours for the walls to helping order the beanbags online from Europe.
Katelyn McCarthy, one of the members of the organising committee, said it’s great to be able to come over and chat with the girls.
“Sometimes we make homemade face masks and body scrubs and have mini-pamper evenings. I really like having a boy free zone. Before, there were only really good things to do if you were a boy, like pool and soccer. Now we have our own place and boys aren’t even allowed in,” she said.
Minister for housing Jan O’Sullivan, who performed the official opening of the Girls Room said it is a great concept.
“I think it’s just fantastic, it’s such an achievement. I hope you all have loads of fun here in this room and that it’ll be a place where you can come and have a nice time and be relaxed and happy in your own community,” she said.
Ms O’Sullivan praised all those who work at the centre: “One thing I’ve always said about regeneration, OK it’s about houses and everything else, but it’s mainly about social regeneration which is about the people living in the communities. And it’s great that you have this centre here and that you have such a good, strong, vibrant, active community and I want to say well done to all of you that are involved with it.”