Flying the flag with Moyross Youth Academy

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Young people from Moyross and across the city and county enjoy “significantly more” opportunities today compared to their predecessors 25 years ago.

“The investment in young people is having a visibly positive influence on communities across Limerick – we see it in the greater confidence young people have in themselves,” said Dave Mulcahy, Chair of MDC.

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He was speaking at the official launch of Moyross Youth Academy last Friday, June 29th.

The Academy’s newly refurbished facility at The Bays, Moyross, was also officially opened by Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality, David Stanton, T.D.

Addressing hundreds of youths, staff and supporters, Minister Stanton said, “The Garda Youth Diversion Project and the other projects and services run from the centre are vitally important in providing support to young people and families in the community.”

Moyross Youth Academy was initially run by volunteers with then three staff employed to provide support to a small group of young people. Now, it employs 26 staff providing training, mentoring and education to over 100 young people.

“When you see people – who came to us because it gave them a chance in life – returning here as adults to tutor others, you know you’ve turned a corner,” said Elaine Slattery, Manager of Céim ar Chéim.

The MYA was begun by volunteers in the early 1990s, it took on its first staff members in 1998 and operated for two decades from cold warehouses designed for manufacturing companies that never materialised.

Still very much rooted in the community, MYA remains in the same location on the Knockalisheen Road, but today operates out of a state-of-the-art facility that is impressing all comers.

The new building has been transformed. It consists of seven classrooms, a carpentry workshop, fully-fitted training kitchen, gym, indoor soccer, meeting rooms and offices. The refurbishment was called for in 2014 after a Health and Safety Audit. It was funded through the Government’s Dormant Accounts scheme.

Dave Mulcahy, the chairperson of MYA, thanked volunteers, staff and supporters.

“This is exciting for not just Moyross, but for the wider area. Some of the services provided by MYA, including the highly-regarded equine project, reach out to youths across the city. We want to continue to expand our reach, particularly in the area of improving employability.”

Andrew O’Byrne of Moyross Development Company, which was first established in 1993, said, “It has taken 25 years to get to this stage and there is more to do. With the right support and through partnership, the management here see fantastic scope to expand this facility and the service we provide for young people.”

One such partnership has been with Peter McVerry Trust. Peter McVerry Trust provides funding and support to this social enterprise initiative which in turn works to produce furniture for use in the charity’s social housing units in Limerick and across the country. Pat Doyle, CEO of Peter McVerry Trust said “This partnership sees Peter McVerry Trust provide funding and support to the academy to produce high quality bedside lockers, coffee tables and other pieces of furniture that we purchase for use in our social housing units in Limerick City and County and elsewhere across the country.”

Dean Quinn is an outreach staff member who, as a youngster himself, benefitted from the training and mentoring provided by MYA. Today, he is admired by the young people he supports.

“In launching this project, it’s timely now for us to ask people to think twice before they label communities negatively. Look at the facts first. Communities mature and move on, but sometimes the reputation they once had – and it’s often exaggerated – lingers. It’s time for the public to recognise that a new Moyross is emerging.”

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