THE night time Gaelic programme came to a close on Friday night past with 100 young people participating in the final tournament at the 3G pitch in St Patrick’s Grammar School, Downpatrick.
The pilot programme being delivered by Down Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) in conjunction with East Down Gaelic Board over the past four weeks has exceeded all expectations.
As part of the initiative, Jamie Rea from ASCERT held interactive exercises with the young people to demonstrate the detrimental impact alcohol and drugs can have on young lives.
The programme, which targeted young people in under 14’s Gaelic clubs across the district, has received great praise from the participating clubs and it is hoped that the initiative can continue in the future. Young people expressed excitement about the Night Time Gaelic programme with comments such as, ‘usually on Friday nights we are at a loose end and would just be hanging around the streets.’
PCSP Chairperson, Councillor Willie Clarke said: “This youth diversionary programme has been a huge success and attendance levels have surpassed all expectations. The number of youths participating in the programme is fantastic and has given young people the chance to have fun, compete in a controlled environment and be educated on the effects of drugs and alcohol.”
The Chairperson of the East Down GAA Board, Sean McCashin, also added: “I am delighted the following clubs have engaged in the programme; RGU Downpatrick, Kilclief, Drumaness, Aughlisnafin, Saul, Teconnaught, Ardglass and Drumaness.
“We hope the success of this initiative shows the need to keep developing programmes for young people and hopefully other clubs will participate in the project in the near future.”