Concern grows over closure of vital community space in Limerick

Concern grows over closure of vital community space in Limerick

The Factory Southside Youth Space is set to close by the end of this year

SERIOUS concerns have been raised for jobs and the welfare of children as Limerick Youth Service prepares to pull out of a well-known community space on the southside of Limerick city.

Two years ago, workers at the The Factory Southside Youth Space in Galvone Industrial Estate wrote to Cllr Catherine Slattery to inform her that the facility was due to close as the Council was disposing of the premises to a private company.

Following intense deliberation, it was agreed that the essential community services provided by LYS at the Factory could remain in the premises until December 2021, while an alternative premises was identified.

However, to date, no premises has been found, the Fianna Fáil councillor told a special council meeting on regeneration.

“There has been no communication to date. Limerick Youth Service has lost funding and now remains in limbo. There are eight workers there, with families and mortgages to pay. This is simply not acceptable. We need this facility in the southside as there is nothing else like it," she said.

On Tuesday, the Board of LYS confirmed the organisation will exit management of the Factory Southside Youth Space at the end of 2021, in line with the previous agreement.

Whilst no longer managing the facility, existing youth work supports will still be available within the community including via a youth and family support project, youth mental health project and youth work programmes.

The decision to end the management was due to “the facility being sold to a private entity and planning permission sought for the demolition of the section occupied by LYS” as well as “LCCC’s commitment to funding the facility under the Social Intervention Fund extending to December 2021.”

No commitment exists after this period, added the board in statement.

Cllr Slattery, cathaoirleach of the Limerick Metropolitan District, stressed the vital nature of the community space and the services it provides.

The Factory Youth Space included a hangout area for teenagers, a dance studio, recording studio, an after school Tusla youth group meeting each evening as well as weekend sports, mental health and autism groups that avail of the space.

Following last week's special council meeting, she told the Limerick Leader that meetings were ongoing to ensure that a future premises is secured. She stated that council officials have informed her that a youth facility will be included in the implementation framework for the southside.

“It may not be like the current one, but there will be one included,” she said.

In a statement Limerick Youth Service said. “The closure of The Factory Southside Youth Space will have implications for the staff employed by LYS on the Community Services Programme. LYS is consulting with all staff concerned to mitigate the consequences of the closure. LYS wishes to thank the young people, community, volunteers and staff for their support and commitment to The Factory Southside Youth Space in the years since it opened its doors in 2010.”

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