‘Any town would be proud’: Youth groups showcase positive side to Coalisland following drugs fears – video28, April 2012 | By: brendan64 | 1 Comment »
Youth groups and charities came together to showcase a more positive side to life in Coalisland following weeks of negative headlines over the town’s drugs problems.
Families from across the Coalisland area flocked to the town’s Parochial Centre to find out about the many different organisations, clubs and opportunities available to young people.
(Scroll down for a video from the event)
The evening was the latest reaction to growing concerns over drugs issues in Coalisland, which has prompted hundreds to attend a series of public meetings and a mass demonstration in the middle of the town.
Some people attending the public meetings claimed youngsters were becoming caught up in the illegal activity due to a lack of opportunities available to them in the Coalisland area.
But organisers said last night’s event showcased the wealth of clubs and organisations open to local young people and the positive work already being achieved in the town.
Ógras Youth Club’s Leo Quinn, who helped organise the evening, said: “I’m just delighted with the whole turnout. I’m aware that there are gaps to be filled, but at the same time the provisions that are on show tonight shows that there are excellent services for young people – and any town would be proud of them.”
The event, which took place on Friday (April 27) between 7pm and 10pm, aimed to highlight the clubs, groups and opportunities available to young people between the ages of four and 18.
Youth groups packed out the Parochial Centre hall, lining the walls with colourful stands and displays.
Several GAA sports clubs were in attendance, along with organisations including Coalisland Training Services and CRAIC Theatre.
Organisations including Breakthru and the Niamh Louise Foundation also attended the evening to provide families with information on health and well-being.
CRAIC Theatre’s Oliver Corr said: “It’s great to see such a big crowd of people out. All the local community groups have made a great effort to show a more positive view of Coalisland.”
Paul Sweeney, sports officer and head coach of the Eagles Special Olympics Club in Coalisland, said: “I’m surprised to see the amount of stuff that’s available in the town. I would imagine there are a lot of people who don’t know all the stuff that’s available. For the size of a town like Coalisland there is plenty of things out there.”
Earlier this week, the PSNI agreed to attend a public meeting to discuss the problems on Thursday 3 May at 8pm in Coalisland’s Parochial Centre, following talks with church and political representatives.
The public gathering will be the first time police have have met with Coalisland residents since concerns over issues with drugs in the town snowballed last month.