THE Cox’s Demesne Youth & Community Project is celebrating 21 years of working with young people in Cox’s Demesne.
Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Frances Fitzgerald attended a special celebration to mark the milestone at what is known locally as “The House” on Friday, April 27 from 2.30pm.
Dundalk Town Council chairperson Cllr Marianne Butler and Chair of the Board of Management of “The House” Tom Myers welcomed those in attendance. The welcome addresses were followed by a screening of a specially produced 12 minute DVD entitled ‘Memories and Events Through the Years 1991-2012’.
The Cox’s Demesne Youth & Community Project Manager, Clodagh O’Mahony, then gave a presentation about the work that “The House” is currently undertaking in the community. She outlined the successes and the challenges that are faced.
Ms O’Mahony also paid tribute to “The House’s” nearest neighbours who have been very supportive throughout the years: Patsy and Monica McKevitt, Bernie and Bob Donnelly, and Peter McVeigh.
Local butcher, Anthony Murphy, who is a Cox’s Demesne resident was also in attendance. He helped to officially launch the Project when he was just 12 years old and returned on Friday last with his 12 year old twin daughters.
In addition to Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Frances Fitzgerald, they were joined by Louth Fine Gael TD Peter Fitzpatrick, past and present Board of Management members, friends of the Project, representatives from different funding agencies and some town councillors.
Cox’s Demesne Youth & Community Project was first established in 1991 when two derelict or unused houses were provided by Dundalk Town Council and were renovated by local people. This took place over six months and was spearheaded and driven by local man Brian Doyle.
Local tradesmen and young people gave of their time and skills voluntarily. The idea for the project grew out of a vision to provide somewhere within the community where young people who were excluded from all mainstream programmes, projects, and clubs would be welcomed, learn new skills and be given new opportunities.
It became known locally as “The House”. Over the years since 1991 the project has grown and developed. An extension to the premises was built in 1996 and the building is now equivalent in size to four council houses.
While Cox’s Demesne Youth & Community Project still has a priority for young people at risk, it also offers a general youth service to the community.
Currently there are approximately 250 children and young people availing of the programmes and projects on a weekly basis with a staff team of eight full-time workers and some part-time and community employment workers.