LIMERICK Youth Service plans to develop a €1.8 million youth centre in the shadow of Thomond Park at Ballynanty, a facility which would bring all of the services it provides for young people on the northside of the city under one roof.
A planning application lodged with Limerick City Council in recent weeks details a proposed 1150-square metre facility over two storeys and including a split-level activity hall; a second hall with stage and backstage areas; a youth cafe and kitchen; as well as reception, office space, parking and other associated development.
While the application was withdrawn last week, this was owing to a technical issue and the plans are expected to be resubmitted to City Hall in due course.
Funding for the ambitious project is in place thanks to a donation from the JP McManus Invitational Pro-Am 2005.
And negotiations are in train with Limerick City Council to provide a greenfield site near Ballynanty Health Centre in lieu of matching the funding of the McManus committee.
Limerick Youth Service currently provides services to young people at various sites it rents on the northside of the city – including St Lelia’s Community Centre in Ballynanty; bungalows in Whitecross Gardens, Moyross; a unit to the rear of Watch House Cross shopping centre; as well as hourly rental of other facilities for sports and other activities.
“This is a great opportunity to bring together our northside projects to a dedicated purpose-built youth space,” said Catherine Kelly, Director of Limerick Youth Service.
“We all know an absence of community facilities and particularly youth facilities can lead to anti-social behaviour and other difficulties. What we are hoping is that by bringing together what we are doing already and working within an integrated model, then we are enhancing facilities for young people. We feel that investment in our young people is investment in our future. They will be tomorrow’s leaders so we want to give them the best opportunities possible now.”
Speculation that the plans would see Limerick Youth Service relocating away from their city centre base at Glentworth Street – where the service has maintained a presence for 40 years – were described as well wide of the mark.