Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone TD, accompanied by Kevin “Boxer” Moran TD and Senator Gabrielle McFadden, visited the Gateway Youth Project in St. Mary’s Hall, Northgate Street, Athlone as part of her visit to the area recently.
Minister Zappone received a tour of the Gateway Youth Project and met with young people, volunteers and staff involved. She saw the range of work the project facilitates like the health and wellbeing programme which was carried out through art.
She viewed the music recording room and listened to some of the young people’s recordings. Minster Zappone then spoke with students who have completed the Foróige Leadership for Life programme that was facilitated both in local schools during term time and in partnership with the Army and Athlone Community Taskforce during the summer.
The Minister also spent time talking to the Gateway Youth Committee, the youth participation structure in the project. Athlone Spectrum – their LGBTI support group and students from the community inclusion programme – a peer mentoring programme run in collaboration between Foróige, St Hilda’s. She also met with Rebecca Goddard, a Little in the Big Brother Big Sister programme who is also a finalist in the Foróige Aldi National Junior Baking Competition.
Speaking at the event Minister Zappone said she was “most impressed by the creativity, the commitment, and how articulate and well-spoken the young people are. She said that she felt very inspired by what the young people were doing.
The Gateway Youth Project is a collaboration between the Foróige and Athlone Community Taskforce. The project is funded by both LWETB through the DCYA Young People Facilities and Services Fund and Tusla.