Members of Mountrath Youth Theatre with Facilitator Mirjana Rendulic. The Youth Theatre will be some of the first to use the new youth centre.
The work of bulldozers and a tree surgeon have cleared the way for a brand new youth centre to be built on the old tennis court site in Mountrath.
The site on the Castletown Road near the community school will be a hub for youth services in the future.
Young people from the Mountrath Youth Theatre and any young people in the area will be invited to sew saplings in the garden of their future purpose built centre on Saturday, February 10.
While the project will take a number of years to complete, Brenda O’Grady, of Mountrath Development Association said that the site will be used as soon as this summer for some youth services.
“We hope to have some services running by August or maybe even earlier. It is a priority to get young people into their space. The Youth Theatre will be moving in and we hope to have a homework club by September,” she said.
Ms O’Grady told the Leinster Express that the sub-committee from the MDA overseeing the project will have a meeting with Laois County Council in the next two weeks to determine the next part of the plan now that they are working with a greenfield site.
“We have an idea of what we want, we want an equal sustainable building that will be open everyday and to eventually have a local youth officer.
“We want to have it available for all types of youth services, mental health, bereavement, counselling and things like grinds.
“There have already been a number of offers from teachers to do grinds on a voluntary basis. It will be a purpose built youth development centre,” she said.
Funding for the work that has been carried out so far has come from a €12,500 Sports Capital Programme that was granted in 2017.
The MDA organising committee will now turn to relevant bodies including the HSE, TUSLA, a Garda Liaison Officer, Youth Work Ireland, Youth Work Laois to come on board with the plan.
“We will be applying for funding to the relevant authorities based on guidelines.
“It will be step by step we will get dwellings and move forward from June,” Ms O’Grady said.
The team involved in the project is a sub committee from the Mountrath Development Association with the assistance of Laois Sports Officer Ann Marie Maher who was assigned by Laois County Council to help.
Ms O'Grady added that when the old tennis courts were exposed they were in very good condition and will hopefully be used throughout the summer for a number of events.
Watch the bulldozers tearing down the old pavilion on the tennis court to make way for the new development.