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Issue 4: Oct - Dec 2008

E E R F This edition of ECHO is a 10th anniversary special, where we celebrate ten years of Letterkenny Youth Information Centre.


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We look back at the history of the centre, hear from those who have made the YIC their second home over the past 10 years, and look forward to the future. Enjoy! Martin Keeney

Youth Information Officer

ry Lane o m e M n w o D lk a FYI - A W oming Up? C ’s t a h W p U Speak

YIC & LOFT NEWS IRISH YOUTH MUSIC AWARDS Asscracks and Flashbacks will represent Donegal at the Irish Youth Music Awards in Dublin next April. Brendan McGlynn, Paul Magee, Annraoi Kerr and Justin Dunleavy claimed victory in the regional heat at the Regional Cultural Centre on November 1st. The band will now begin preparations for the April final with the help of the 16 other acts who competed in the regional heat. The Irish Youth Music Awards is the new name for Seven Steps Up, a competition which Donegal claimed victory in last year through Boy Number 7. A new album featuring all last year’s Regional heat contestants in now available through Universal Records and Letterkenny Youth Information Centre for the small fee of €5. If you would like to get involved in the project talk to Marty, John or Frankie in the YIC or Loft now to find out more details.


The Donegal Youth Service recently sent a team of young people to Brazil to participate in a project called “A Different Triangle” this October. The two week project saw young people from all over Europe meet up with young people from Africa, South America and the West Indies, to share knowledge and experiences and set up further international exchange opportunities. Chairperson of the Donegal Youth Service Board of Directors, Stephen McNamee lead the group along with young people Louise Dunne, Deirdre Doheny, Ciara Cribben and Darragh Condon. As Stephen explains the trip was an amazing and eye opening experience. “The group who hosted the exchange in Brazil were called Casa de Passagem. The workers from the project are all former street kids who went on to complete university degrees and come back and help support the work of their communities. We hope over the coming months to share our experiences with other young people from the county.”


The Letterkenny Youth Information Centre, managed by the Donegal Youth Service, will launch a new film at their upcoming 10th anniversary celebrations in the Regional Cultural Centre on November 25th. The project began in July and worked with a group of young people from ethnic minorities who live in the North West. The film, which is funded by Leargas, was created in partnership with Headliners in Derry and the Nerve Centre and is entitled “When Cultures Meet”. The powerful film tells the stories of young people from different cultural backgrounds who have come to live in this area. Copies of the film will be available for schools through the Youth Information Centre. If you would like to know more about this project or any other information about the Letterkenny Youth Information Centre summer program please contact Frankie McGreevy at 07491 29640. TO CONTACT THE ECHO NEWS TEAM TEXT 086-3499998

TAKING PARTY A IN LOOK THE PARK BACK Youth Information Co-ordinator Gareth Gibson takes a look back at the history of Letterkenny Youth Information Centre.

Letterkenny Youth Information Centre first opened its doors in 1998 as the first public face of Youth Provision in Letterkenny and has gone from strength to strength over the years. Initially the centre was funded from Peace and Reconciliation funds, with partnerships on a cross border basis. This early funding was temporary in nature, and it wasn’t until 2001 that a more sustainable funding source was secured, in the form of the Department of Education, which provided on going funding via the Youth Affairs Section. Now some 10 years on and in the midst of somewhat of a national economic crisis, the Youth Affairs Section is being relocated to the Office of the Minister for Children, a welcomed move with potentially great opportunities, however, long term funding for Youth Information is not guaranteed. Letterkenny Youth Information Centre first opened in early 1998 in premises located at 108 Lower Main Street, in the building occupied by Donegal Youth Service. A few years later in 2001, the opportunity arose to move the service to 17-26 Celtic Apartments on the Pearse Road, a building which we occupied for 5 years. Over the years, with the entire Donegal Youth Service, not just the Youth Information Centre growing steadily, the need was apparent that another move was a necessity. In 2006, that moved was realised, and we relocated to a purpose built facility at 16 -18 Port Road Letterkenny, in which we still “live” today.

The centre itself caters for young people aged 12 to 25, parents and those who work with young people, for example teachers and youth workers. The Centre operates under the National Youth Information guidelines and offers a unique approach to youth information in that the information team strive to animate the information through a rich and varied outreach programme, courses and innovative projects. The centre always offered a drop in service, but with the move to the new premises in 2006, the opportunity arose to operate a state of the art drop in facility in partnership with the LOFT LK. In the 10 years that the centre has been in operation statistics have been maintained, which record that the centre has dealt with over 56,000 queries from over 40,000 clients and when special services and other centre users are included the centre can boast a footfall in excess of 165,590 young people. Also in this period there has been 10 staff who have spent various periods working in the Centre: Lorraine Thompson; Yvonne Grieve; Noreen McCusker; Sinead Barron; Patsy Callaghan; Charlene Logue; Gareth Gibson; Fiona Boyle; Frankie McGreevy; Martin Keeney. 5 of these staff continue to work for Donegal Youth service. The key to the success of Letterkenny Youth Information Centre has been the dedication of staff and management, the constant efforts to improve with innovative methods and by no means least the participation of the young people, without whom the centre would fail to exist.

PARTY 10th ANNIVERSARY IN THE PARK We take a look at 10 years of Letterkenny Youth Information Centre. Top Left: John Ruddy, Kylie Orr, Catherine McDyer and Dapo Adeyoola and Miriam McLaughlin take part in a chairty car wash 2004 Top Right: Daniel Purcell, Connor McPhilemy and Tommy McDaid acing in a street play on a European Exchange in Italy in 2005 Middle Right : A younger looking John Ruddy and Kevin Monaghan on a visit to the old drop in centre at Celtic Apartments Middle Left: Fiona Boyle leads a workshop in Gartan in 2002

BEST OF LUCK EMMA Emma McShane of the Youth Information Centre recently left the centre for pastures new and we want to wish her the very best of luck in her new life. Emma worked with the centre for the last 3 years and became a very important and valued member of the Youth Information Centre team. Her dedication and work ethic was second to none and her good natured and affable manner endeared her to all her workmates here. Emma gets married in December and we at the YIC would like to take this opportunity to wish herself and Andy the very best of luck in their new life together. We want a few postcards from France too!

10TH PARTY ANNIVERSARY IN THE PARK We take a look at 10 years of Letterkenny Youth Information Centre.

Top Left: Lorraine Thompson leads a workshop in Celtic Apartments 2002 - Top Right: Deputy James McDaid with Youth Development Officer Patsy Callaghan & a group at Dail na Nog 2001 Middle Left: Sheena Boyle & group complete a trash fan event 2000 Middle Right: Councillor Dessie Larkin with DYS staff in old premises at Lr Main St Bottom Left (inset): Stephen Toye on the old pink settee. Bottom Right(inset): The YIC’s famous couple Gerard and Eimilie Bottom Left: Seven Steps Up winners 2008 Bottom Right: Dapo and JP at the Big Ballot 2007


With the Youth Information Centre celebrating a milestone anniversary we asked a number of past and present participants, staff and volunteers a little about their fondest memories of the Youth Information Centre.

Joe Devlin - 22

“The best memory that I have is the pink couch in the old building! I feel that the YIC made me a change as a person, see things clearer. As a person I have become more cultured. I have been able to go to other countries and meet other people. I have been able to go to university.”

John Ruddy - 20 “The European Exchange was brilliant, it was class. I think it’s very interesting and refreshing for young people to meet people from other countries. My message for the YIC is keep on the direction you’ve gone. Because it’s a such great place, so just don’t change! “

Frankie McGreevy - Youth Development Officer, YIC “The highlight of my job was when we moved to our new premises 2 years ago because I was working in the old small office for 3 years, so moving was very special, it felt like real progress. I love this job because it gives me the opportunity to travel and meet people from different countries while at the same time giving young people the opportunity to broaden their horizons.”

Anika Alleyne - 16 “The first time that I heard about the YIC was because my mum saw it in the newspaper. Since the day that I arrived I have enjoyed taking part in workshops, different trips, some presentations. The most important thing for me is coming here on Mondays evenings to meet my friends, laugh, scream and use the computers. The YIC made me more strong and give me different points of view.”

Thomas Blockley - Member YIC Youth Advisory Committee “I came here because of my brother in 2006. I’ve been able to get involved in a lot of things including Party in the Park, the Big Ballot and I have also been a member of the YICYAC for over a year now. The YIC staff have helped calm me down, but not in the bad way, in a good way”

Lorraine Thompson Regional Director Donegal Youth Service “I have been there from the start and I can’t believe I am looking back at the last 10 years, the changes, progression and amazing work the YIC is doing at the moment. I remember painting the walls at Lr Main St at the beginning. We started out trying to tell the young people of Letterkenny what a Youth Information Centre was, painting murals and forming partnerships. I can see the amazing work that has continued and gone more hi-tech and kept up to the needs of young people. Happy birthday and keep up the good work”

STAFF PROFILE What does your role entail? I work as part of the Youth Information Team as an EVS volunteer. I help with the media group and intercultural group, as well as helping with all the day to day activities of the centre. What is your favourite thing? My favourite thing from this job is the fact that it is always different. Every day changes, the workshops and the things we do with young people. It has not been boring since the moment I arrived. Why did you want to come work in Ireland? Because of the language. I need to improve my English. And I think Ireland is an interesting country full of beautiful places and it has nice and warm people too. Anything you dont like? To do mathematical problems. LETTERKENNY YOUTH INFORMATION have recently welcomed Maria Barbera Heras to the centre as an European Voluntary Service Volunteer. NAME:Maria Barbera Heras Job Title? Assistant Youth Development Officer Tell me about yourself? Well... I’ love to travel! And getting to know different cultures. I’m 26 years old. I’m a journalist, living and working in Letterkenny these days but, originally from Reus, Spain.

What is EVS? It is a European Comission program designed for all European young people between 16-30 years old. If you are in this group, you can go abroad and live an interesting adventure living away from your home, learn a new language and meet new people. If you want to be involved in this program you only have to look for a sending organisation in your country or locality. They help you with all the application details. You can search on the internet for opportunities in all the homes of the European commission. Come and ask me in the Youth Information Centre and I can find out more details for you.


They didn’t come quite as far as Maria but Oliver McBride (left) and Mark Curran (far right) are also both new members of the YIC team. We found out how they are settling in. Name: Oliver McBride Job Title: Assistant Youth Information Officer Tell me about yourself: I grew up in Downings and moved to Letterkenny to attend the LYIT (then the RTC) in 1993 when I was 17 yrs old. I have been mainly based here since. I was with the Donegal Youth Service before in 2000/01, where I worked in the Daybreak programme. In late 2001, I went to work in Pramerica. I spent over 5 years there and during that time I went back to the LYIT, in 2005, where I graduated in 2007 with a BA (Hons) in Legal Studies with Taxation. I also play a bit of music and have been involved in several bands and musical groups. Why did you want to come work in the YIC? The previous time I had worked with the DYS, I really enjoyed the experience and when the opportunity arose I was very happy to come back again. I believe the work that is carried out here is very important for young people and the community.

STAFF PROFILE Name: Mark Curran Job Title: Assistant Youth Information Officer Tell me about yourself: Well I was born and bred here in dodge (Letterkenny), I play basketball and really love films. I write in my spare time, and I am also in to my MMA, football and music. Radiohead are the best band ever, FACT! What does your job entail? Generally helping out Frankie and Marty, doing the employment lists, and reminding Frankie why Liverpool are the best.

What is your favourite thing about your job? I enjoy meeting people, helping people and being able to provide information and direction to people.

What is your favourite thing about working here? Just things being different everyday. I couldn’t imagine myself doing the same thing day in day out for the rest of my life.

Anything you don’t like? Not enough seats in the office!

Anything you don’t like? What’s not to like?

WHAT’S COMING UP? IRISH YOUTH MUSIC AWARDS GROUP The IYMA Group will be holding meetings in the Loft every Wednesday between 6pm and 8pm. The purpose of the group is to help create new opportunities and avenues to promote the winners, Asscracks & Flashbacks, from the highly successful IYMA Regional Competition held in the Regional Cultural Centre on the 1st November.

YIC YOUTH ADVISORY COMMITTEE Are you interested in representing the views and opinions of young people? The Youth Information Centre Youth Advisory Committee is now recruiting new members. Talk to Frankie in the Youth Information Centre for details. FLYING THE COOP The Flying the Coop booklet is available in the Youth information Centre. This booklet provides a guide to leaving home & going to college. It contains information on accommodation, tenant’s rights, costs & budgeting, health & safety plus providing helpful contacts. CHRISTMAS OPENING HOURS The YIC and Loft LK will close on 24th December, reopening on 5th January. STUDENT TRAVEL CARD The Student Travel Card is available in the Youth Information Centre. The card offers discounts on travel and other items for young people. Call into the centre for more details HOMEWORK CLUB The Loft Homework club is still running. If you are a 1st Year in Secondary School and would like to take part, contact staff now. PREMIER LEAGUE The Loft are now showing live SKY Sports FA Premiership matches. See in centre for more details.

DYS AGM Donegal Youth Service held its Annual General Meeting 2008, celebrated its successes over 2007/8 club year and launched the 2008/9 club year on Wednesday 5th November at its headquarters 16-18 Port Road, Letterkenny. NEW ADOLESCENT NURSE SERVICE IN THE LOFT The Loft in partnership with the HSE are proud to announce that from Feb 2009 there will be a adolescent nurse service operating within the Loft on a weekly basis for two hours. For more information talk to a member of staff now. YOUNG WOMENS GROUP The Young Women’s Group (age 13 to 16 yrs old) meet every Tuesday evening from 4.30 to 6.00 in the Loft. The group addresses issues relating to young women, such as peer pressure, self-esteem, drugs & alcohol, etc. The group take part in activities like art and cookery. For further details contact Jane on 086-0481957. UPCOMING EVENTS AT THE YIC AND LOFT NOVEMBER 25th November - YIC 10th Anniversary - Regional Cultural Centre - 6.30pm 28th November 6pm Chilled out music night 29th November 2pm Scrubs marathon DECEMBER 6th December 12th December 13th December 19th December 20th December

2pm Acoustic Day 7pm Urban Night 3pm Movie/Gaming competition - Christmas Party 2pm Christmas cheer & craic

CULTURAL DIVERSITY GROUP The Youth Information Centre is currently running a Cultural Diversity Group. If you would like to participate talk to a member of the YIC staff.

About the Loft LK The Loft LK is a Youth Project and Adolescent Health Advice Café managed in partnership between the Donegal Youth Service with funding being provided by the Health Service Executive. Now enrolling! Youth Health - Art - Drama - Media Skills - Personal Development - Peer Leadership - Peer Education - Young Women’s group - Much more.... Call in and see how you can get involved. Loft LK Youth Project & Health Café 16-18 Port Road, Letterkenny, Co Donegal Phone 07491-88271 or email

About the Letterkenny Youth Information Centre The Youth Information Centre is a well established resource for the local community providing Young people and those who work with them a one stop shop for information and training opportunities in the following areas: Job and Housing Lists - Law and Justice - CV Preparation Travel opportunities - College applications - Student Travel card service - Practice for Driver Theory Test - Leadership training - Media skills training - Drop in service Letterkenny Youth Information Centre, 16-18 Port Road, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal Tel 0749129640 or email


This is a quarterly newsletter produced by the Letterkenny Youth Information Centre featuring news and information for young people from the...


This is a quarterly newsletter produced by the Letterkenny Youth Information Centre featuring news and information for young people from the...