Garda Youth Diversion project launched in Athy

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Paula Campbell

Reporter:

Paula Campbell

Email:

paula@leinsterleader.ie

Youth diversion project launched in Athy

Charlie Mack CEO Extern, Sgt. Jim Bergin , Chief Supt. Gerry Roche, Kate O’Brien Extern, and Derek McCabe chairman Extern.

Social justice charity Extern launched a new Garda Youth Diversion Project (GYDP) in Athy on Tuesday night.

The Caisleán Project, the second new Extern GYDP project in Kildare, is a community based, multi-agency, youth crime prevention initiative which primarily seeks to divert young people who have been or are at risk of being involved in criminal or antisocial behaviour.

Based in Athy Community Enterprise Centre, Woodstock Industrial Estate 16 young people, aged between 12 and 17, will be involved in the Extern Project at any one time. Once a young person moves on from the Project, the Extern team will offer follow-ups at various periods throughout the year, to check how they are progressing.

Commenting on the launch which took place last night (Tuesday) of the Athy GYDP, Charlie Mack, CEO of Extern, said: “The launch of this GYDP  is great news for the Athy and Castledermot communities. Along with our sister GYDP in Naas, Extern, and its partners in An Garda Síochána and the Irish Youth Justice Service, are seeking to encourage a better quality of life for everyone in Athy and the North and West Kildare locality. We know it will help support good relations between the Gardaí and the community, and, crucially, offer vital, and new, life-altering opportunities for the young people involved.

“At Extern we are proud that we offer a very strong community-focused approach, and one-to-one counselling opportunities for the children involved. I have no doubt that they will benefit hugely, as will their families, and the wider Athy community. And not just for today, but for many years to come.”

The Extern team will work alongside An Garda Síochána and the Irish Youth Justice Service in the delivery of the Project, which offers opportunities for education and employment training. It is also introducing young people to activities and interests which they may not have previously known how to access, including specific sports, art and music.

Tailor-made programmes 

The Extern Project will deliver individual work, group work, educational support and pro-social activities. This will empower the young person to engage and take responsibility for their social and personal development as well as gaining the opportunity to learn new skills and improve on existing skills.

Once identified as suitable for the project, the young person and their family will meet with a Youth Justice worker. Together Extern will devise a personalised programme plan which will best suit the young person’s needs.

“It is great to have such a great project up and running in the South of the County and what a great service to offer to young people and families. I was honoured to be asked to be part of the committee and am looking forward to working with the team in the future.” said Patricia Berry, Community Representative Athy/Municipal District, Kildare County Council.

Garda Kevin Fahy JLO added, “A Garda Youth Diversion Project is a resource which is much sought after in every community. The establishment of The Caisleán project will be a very useful service in Athy, Castledermot and Ballitore which can support young people and their families. An GardaSíochána is delighted to be able to be involved with this positive development for young people. I look forward to working with Eimear, Rachel and Marie from Extern and know that their experience and commitment will have a positive effect in the south Kildare area.”

Extern’s Athy GYDP can be contacted on 059 8641331 or by emailing eimear.flood@extern.org