A written commitment to the future of a popular youth club which had once been under the shadow of possible closure has been given by the Education Authority.
Ballee Youth Club, which had its roots in Ballee High School, had served young people in the Ballee and South Ballymena areas well for many years and even when the school was closed it continued to provide a vital service to the local community.
However, there had been fears that the club might have to close as the school building was turned over to Education Authority administration.
But it has emerged that the authority have given a written commitment that the club can continue operating at the site.
The pledge has been welcomed by a local assemblyman who had backed the club’s case.
The DUP’s Paul Frew said: “I’m glad that EA has now given us firm clarification on the issue. This has been distressing to the 85 young people who are currently members of the club.”
Mr. Frew contended that the role played by youth workers was vital to local society.
He said: “The youth workers at Ballee do an incredible job supporting the young people. For example, a number of young members are currently engaged in a drug awareness programme which seeks to support young people in making positive choices, reducing risk taking behaviour as well as providing education information about drugs and substance misuse. That is vital work being carried out by truly dedicated staff.
“The club has also helped members successfully complete an intervention project which explored young people’s role in the community and also undertook a young people participation empowerment project called ‘Hands On’.
“The club also participated in a local EA youth service competition and won an ICT ‘Oscar’ in the category of Environment and outdoor work.”