Diarmuid Nicell is looking for a job.
Diarmuid, (24) is from the Bog and said that instead of whiling away the hours at home he wanted to keep his mind active so he joined the Bogside and Brandywell Health Forum’s ‘For Fit’s Sake’ project.
“It’s a great project,” said Diarmuid. “I’ve been involved since it started last year and it has helped me to keep fit and learn new skills.”
‘For Fit’s Sake’ is aimed at young men aged between 18 and 25. Whilst a lot of focus is on physical activity the men involved also get the chance to try their hand at cooking and are also given the chance to learn about drug and alcohol misuse.
“Trying to find a job is tough in Derry,” said Diarmuid. “There’s very little out there but instead of sitting around feeling sorry for myself I wanted to do something that would not only introduce me to new things but would help me to keep fit.
“I’ve noticed a real physical change. We all go to the gym a few times a week and every Thursday afternoon we meet up in Pilot’s Row for a game of four-a-side football - it’s great craic.”
He added: “There’s very little in this area for people of our age group to do. It would be easier to sit at home and do nothing but that’s not for me, I’d rather be active and getting fit.”
Bogside man, Kealan O’Kane, (23) is one of the group’s many success stories. Since joining the programme Kealan has shed over three stone in weight and got a job with local community centre Dove House.
“It’s an amazing project, I don’t think I’d be doing as well as I am if it wasn’t for the help and support of everyone involved.
“I am delighted with myself for losing three stone but I want to lose another two stone before I go on my holidays. I have no doubt that I will.”
He added: “I got a painters job with Dove House. It’s for six months but we’ll have to see how it goes - I am really enjoying my time there.”
David Doherty is the ‘For Fit’s Sake’ facilitator.
“It’s through projects such as this one that we are able to help young men not only improve their fitness but better themselves in terms of employment and confidence.
“We started the ‘For Fit’s Sake’ project back in September of last year. There a steady group of young men who take part every week but every once in a while one leaves because they have got a job or have decided to go back into education. This can only be seen as a positive thing.
“I really enjoy this type of work and whilst the project is all about encouraging healthy living, there’s a real social side to it to.
“It’s totally free of charge and every Thursday we meet in Pilot’s Row for a game of football. That’s when all of the friendliness goes out the window and it gets really competitive,” joked David.
David is a qualified fitness instructor and he said that his work on the project is made all the easier when those who are taking part take what they are being told seriously.
“Honestly, I can’t speak highly enough of this group. We have plenty of craic but everyone takes what we do very seriously. There are no slackers and if there were they wouldn’t be long hearing about it.”
He added: “It’s a pleasure to work with people like Diarmuid and Kealan. When you see the hard work that they are putting in and how happy they are about the results they are seeing you can’t help but feel satisfied.”
Donna McCloskey is programme co-ordinator. She praised the hard work of all those involved and revealed how other groups in other parts of the TRIAX area have been getting on.
“The men are enjoying all aspects of the programme and it has created a real busy atmosphere about the Gasyard, Pilot’s Row and the gym.
“There are 25 men taking part in the Bogside and Brandywell programme and another 35 men between Creggan and the Fountain.
“The project has been a real success and it has achieved beyond our expectations.”
If you are interested in finding out more about the ‘For Fit’s Sake Programme’ contact David Doherty or Donna McCloskey at the Gasyard Centre on 028 7126 2812.