Tramore Credit Union has come to the rescue of the local Youth Booth Café, struggling to operate from its Main Street base without government funding on which it depends for the employment of a youth officer.
The Credit Union at the weekend donated €2,000 to the cause and at least as much more will be forthcoming from the proceeds of a talent competition it is organising for March 27. That show is scheduled for the Stella Maris Convent Hall and Credit Union Chairman Michael Winkle predicts that, with proper promotion, it will be a runaway success and generate up to a further €3,000 for the youth café.
The consequence is that youth officer Jean Keaveney, who had been doing a wonderful job since the café opened in September 07, can be retained on a part-time basis. That is seen as vital to the success of the project.
Mr Winkle would not be drawn regarding ongoing support for the scheme, but he pointed out that the Credit Union, as a matter of policy, lent assistance wherever possible to positive youth ventures in the Tramore and Dunmore East areas.
The café, which operates under the Foroige umbrella, has been seeking a resumption of funding through the Ministry of Children but so far without success. The Town Council has repeatedly discussed the situation and there have been angry exchanges between members over the method by which the money has been sought; Cllr Pat Finnerty has suggested that lessons could be learned from Waterford City which, he maintains, has recently received generous contributions from central funds.
The youth café, which currently has 130 members and rising, creates an adolescent-friendly environment which is smoke, drug and alcohol free, for people of secondary school age in particular. Facilities on offer include TV, play station, computer, internet and board games. It has also run programmes based on the needs of young people, particularly those who might be experiencing economic disadvantage or social exclusion in the community. Homework help, diet assistance, personal development programmes and summer programmes are available at the centre too.
Mary Murphy, of the Credit Union’s Marketing and Promotions Committee, said the café provided a fun place in which young people could meet and engage in constructive activities to enhance their social skills.