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Fountain Junior Youth Project well fed fun!

Photos of Tanya & Club 085

Situated at the top end of Basin lane, before you cross into Maryland, the old convent has been used by various diffrent agencies over the last number of years. Focus Ireland, the homeless charity,are the present custodians of this protected and beautiful building.

About 12 years ago, the Fountain Resource Group, under the managment of Tom Brunkard opened its very first breakfast and homework club for the local children. Today, all these years later and its still going strong. Tanya O’Neill, well loved local community activist, is the present project leader.

Recently, I went down to see Tanya and the staff, due to some work been carried out to the old convent we met at the senior Fountain Junior Youth Project premises also on Basin Street. Tanya who has been working since day one, explained to me the importance of having such vital services. During school term, the children turn up at about 7.54am and they are giving their breakfast and if needed any assistance , before one of the staff takes the children to the local school which is also situated on Basin lane.

By 1.30pm the younger children (4 to 6 years) are collected and brought back to the convent to do their homework and are given another meal. On a typical day, they will get a hot meal either delicious Irish Stew or home made Pizza with oven chips. Then Tanya or the other members of the team, Annemarie, Anthony, Alan, Samantha or Ida, will sit down and do one to one with the younger kids encourging them and helping them to do their home work. Once that is finished, the kids have some play time, then they go home at 4pm.  An important point about the food is it insures that all kids regardless of background get a good meal a day, this is most important for the development of a healthy child.

While the younger ones were doing their homework, another group of children would arrive at 2.30pm, their ages 7 to 10 years. They too would be given a hot meal and encouraged to do their home work. Once all their homework was done the y were also allowed to let off steam with some playtime.   At any given time there could be at least 35 to 40 children using these services.

Tanya feels these services are needed and without them the kids would have totally nothing to do but go back to their houses or loiter around the flats. There is a waiting list to get in, as Tanya explained, once the children enter their services, they come from the Creche or the playschool also ran by the Fountain, they stay with Tanya till they are 10 years of age then go across to Paul and Nicola who run the SeniorYouths project.  There may be room if a family moves out of the area leaving room for new children.

This is part of the Fountain’s cradle to the grave philosophy (though we don’t do undertaking!).  Babies enter our services through our creche, as they grow they go from playschool to the Junior Youth project, from there to the senior youth project, then there are the Fountain’s adult services (C.E. Schemes, Counselling, Enterprise advice and the Newswire itself).  Finally, the Fountain provides a senior citizens group.

The Junior Youth project, much like the Marrowbone Lane project, Busy Bees and the Senior Youth projects all desperately need funding and donations, whether that’s money or old toys/games.  So please support your local services, they are vital in helping to provide a good future for our young!!!

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