St Mary’s Youth Centre has reopened following its £890,000 refurbishment.
Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland and Education Minister John O’Dowd were in Portadown to open the Obins Street centre.
The youth centre, established in 1959, required a major refurbishment as the building was not fit for purpose. One of the main problems was the roof, which had been leaking for some time, and prevented the centre from opening on wet days.
Speaking at the opening, Mr McCausland said, “I know the important role that youth organisations play in terms of offering structured activities which promote positive behaviour and team working among young people. This in turn creates a culture of community involvement and volunteering, helping young people to become responsible citizens and make a constructive contribution to society.”
Mr O’Dowd said youth organisations, like St Mary’s, provide a setting where young people can meet, make friends and take part in structured activities in a safe environment. He added, “This allows them to develop a range of skills and attributes that can help build their self esteem, improve their employment prospects and complement their learning in school.”
He acknowledged the personal commitment of all those involved in youth work in St Mary’s Youth Centre. “I am confident this fantastic newly refurbished building will make a significant difference and will be very much appreciated by the young people in the area for many years to come,” he added.