Sunday, June 23, 2024

Rathowen Foróige appeal to community for help with communal space

Rathowen Foróige has worked to bring young people in the locality together for the last four years and is currently looking for a permanent recreational space. The group’s 30 members come together at the Rathowen Community Centre every second Friday. There is a junior group for those aged 10–12 and a senior group for those aged 13–18. Rathowen Foróige plays an important role in the lives of local young people.

“It’s a safe place for them to come and mix. Everyone’s included and we have lots of fun down there,” Rathowen Foróige Chairperson Sinéad Wilkinson told Topic.

“It’s great to see you have kids coming down who are really coming out of themselves. They’ve been doing so well and making friends and just being part of something different.”

Rathowen Foróige are trying to create a space for the children to “chill out and relax” while repurposing an area that has recently fallen into disrepair. Sinéad said the group is looking for a “dig out” to make the space a reality. They are looking for paint, plants and garden decorations to decorate the area.

Work

Group members have already put in immense work to restore the area and have enjoyed pulling together. Sinéad said the kids have been “flying at it” and added that numerous donations have come in for the project from the Rathowen community.

“It’s about them all coming together and being part of this community and doing something for this community. It’s not just for the kids, it’s for the elderly and Rathowen Community Development as well — they’ve been fantastic in all of this,” said Sinéad.

“The kids are putting their own stamp and their own mark on it,” said Sinéad.

Inclusivity

Sinéad said Rathowen Foróige is a place for young people of all backgrounds to come together. No pressure is put on members to participate and they have their own committee to make decisions and lead their Foróige experience. It is then their responsibility to make it happen through fundraisers and community outreach.

“In general it’s really relaxing, chilling out, playing games together, and having meetings. It could be baking, it could be art. They could be chilling out in the park, anything. Although we have set things going on for them, there’s no push to participate in anything,” said Sinéad.

“I just want them to be part of something. I want them to come down and go home at the end of the night and say ‘I feel really good’. Inclusivity is a big thing for me as well.”

Ambition

Sinéad previously worked on the Rathowen Community Development and said it was always her ambition to introduce something for local young people. There are three club leaders who work alongside Sinéad. The chairperson said she “wouldn’t be able to do it without them at all”.

“We’ve a great bunch of kids coming down. I’ve a great team behind me as well and a great set of volunteers in the neighbourhood as well.”

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