Excellent report for centre

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TAGHNEVAN Youth and Community Centre has received a glowing report from the Education and Training Inspectorate.

A recent inspection concluded that the Southern Education and Library Board (SELB) youth provision is meeting the educational and pastoral needs of local young people very effectively and has demonstrated the capacity for sustained self-improvement.

The positive endorsement by the inspectors is a source of pride and encouragement to everyone involved with the centre and brings deserved recognition to the staff and volunteers who ensure the quality of provision is of such a high standard.

“This accolade affirms the commitment and hard work put in by the staff team, volunteers and senior members who make Taghnevan Youth Club a safe and enjoyable centre where young people can participate at various levels and develop both personally and socially,” said Youth Worker in charge, Adrian Hutchinson.

Taghnevan Youth and Community Centre opened on its current site in Lurgan’s Taghnevan estate in 1996. The purpose-built centre has a unique funding and management arrangement that involves an effective working partnership between the SELB and Craigavon Borough Council.

Centre manager Aideen Lavery has responsibility for the community development programme and administration of the building while the current full-time youth worker – who has been in place for 17 months – is responsible for managing the youth programmes.

A representative advisory group meets on a regular basis to provide support and advice on the overall strategic development of the centre, which is open 49 weeks of the year and provides structured youth work sessions on four evenings and one afternoon.

The full-time Youth Worker delivers outreach programmes on a fifth evening and a school-based programme in St Paul’s JHS one morning a week, and there is an inclusive youth work session involving young people with and without learning difficulties one evening a week.

A range of local educational, youth and community organisations use the centre at other times – the Taghnevan pre-school play group, the Splash pre-school programme and the partnership with St Francis’ Primary School that provides an Irish language youth group with links to the local Bunscoil.

The inspection of the centre focused on the youth programme and activities, including the youth work element of the community programme, and found that the quality of achievements and standards was very good.

The report of the inspectors states that “the young people participate fully and enthusiastically in programmes and activities which build on their interests and develop a very good range of personal and social skills.”

Over 100 young people have successfully completed accredited and relevant training courses in the past 12 months and “a core group of senior members and young leaders use the skills developed during the training very effectively in accepting various leadership roles and responsibilities.

“During the inspection, most of the young volunteers were observed supporting and encouraging younger members and, when necessary, providing effective challenge to which the younger members responded well.

“In discussions held with some of the senior members they were able to articulate how the skills developed and the leadership qualifications have enhanced their employability, particularly in interview situations with local employers for part-time work.”

The quality of the provision for learning was categorised as ‘very good’. This was highlighted in the report as being the result of a good range of activity and issue-based programmes being offered that meets well the needs of the membership and reflects appropriately the core principles of the youth work curriculum.

Also highlighted was the good quality of the working relationships, the consistency of approach in relation to behaviour and how the mutual respect between young people and staff provides a supportive environment in which the young people are both encouraged and challenged appropriately.

The quality of the care, guidance and support of young people was described as outstanding. The ETI report stated that “the outstanding caring environment is valued by the young people, parents and the wider community.

“The staff provide valuable and valued advice and support to all young people, including seeking appropriate specialist support for a minority of the young people with particular needs.”

Youth Worker Adrian Hutchinson concluded that the positive report would provide further encouragement to all involved with Taghnevan to continue the good work, maintain standards of excellence and build on the progress that has been made.