Ballyclare Youth Club staying open

The youth club is based in the grounds of Ballyclare Secondary School. INNT 35-814CON
The youth club is based in the grounds of Ballyclare Secondary School. INNT 35-814CON

The Education Authority has confirmed that Ballyclare Youth Club will remain open, quashing rumours that the facility was facing the axe.

Speculation had been mounting in the town that the youth club, which has served the local community since 1978, was earmarked for closure.

Since September of last year the position of Youth Tutor has been vacant at the youth club. This has been a burden on the staff at the centre, which has meant that the Youth Support Workers have had to carry out more duties on top of their already demanding roles.

This was coupled with fears that the youth club was struggling financially, which led to the speculation that the club would soon be closing its doors.

However, a spokesperson for the Education Authority has told the Times that the youth club will be staying open.

“The Education Authority has no plans to close Ballyclare Youth Club. The process to appoint a replacement Youth Tutor is in hand,” they said.

“The Education Act (Northern Ireland) 2014 states that it is the duty of the Authority (so far as its powers extend) to encourage, facilitate and promote the community use of premises of grant-aided schools,” the spokesperson added.

TUV Councillor David Arthurs from Ballyclare has had a long association with the youth club, and is delighted that it will be staying open.

“It is great to hear that Ballyclare Youth Club will be staying open. I was aware of some concerns that it may have been closing, but I had not received any official line to say that this was definitely happening,” Mr Arthurs said.

“The youth club is a great asset for the town, and the staff there have been doing a tremendous job for the young people of the area. I am glad that the young people will be able to continue using the club. It has been a key part of the community for many years,” he added.