Enagh Youth Forum operate out of two rooms in the upstairs of an unused house in the heart of Strathfoyle.
The room to the right at the top of the stairs is where youth workers Eamonn O’Donnell, Paul Hughes and financial administrator Ann Gormley do all of their office work.
The other remaining room is a little bigger and it’s where the young people of the area come to make use of the internet facilities.
Some use the room to search online for jobs and training courses whilst others use it to create and update their CVs.
“The young people here are an absolute credit to the Strathfoyle and Greater Enagh area,” said Youth Support Worker Eamonn O’Donnell.
Strathfoyle is recognised as an area of deprivation and as a result the young people of the area have decided to fight back. The young people still use the facilities at the youth forum offices to search for jobs and update CVs but recently they worked alongside the youth workers to come up with a strategic plan to help their local community.
Enagh Youth Forum applied to Derry City Council (D.C.C.) for funding but were unsuccessful.
Eamonn gave an interview to a local newspaper. In the interview he talked about his disappointment at D.C.C.’s decision but a few days after the article appeared in the newspaper, local taxi company ‘City Cabs’ contacted Eamonn and offered him the money needed to carry out the strategic plan.
“We are so grateful to City Cabs,” said Eamonn.
“They have enabled the young people to pick up and run with this strategic plan. We set out seven steps initially but depending on the work of the young people that could increase.”
The steps include the development of a play park for local children, the utilisation of derelict houses in Clonmeen Drive for an extension hub of the youth forum and the controlled development of Enagh Lough for outdoor pursuits.
In an attempt to put extra strength behind the strategic plan, Eamonn approached residents living in the neighbouring community Maydown.
“We needed a holistic approach for this to work,” said Eamonn.
“So we went to the Maydown Community Association. There is a good working relationship between the Maydown Community Association and the Strathfoyle Library, Enagh Youth Forum and Strathfoyle Womens’ Activity Group.
“The Maydown Community Association are now completely behind the strategic plan and as a result we are confident that the plan will help the Greater Enagh area to move away from social exclusion.
“The plan will become the basis of Enagh Youth Forum’s arguments and will become a catalyst to deliver this action plan for the betterment of Strathfoyle and Maydown. It will also help us to hold our elected representatives and statutory bodies to account over the next 12 months.”
Eamonn added: “One of the most important steps in the plan is the development of the ‘Auld School’ [located near Enagh Lough]. We believe that if down right the development of the old building would build cohesion and develop a great working relationship between the Strathfoyle and Maydown communities.”
Paul Hughes is also a Youth Support Worker at Enagh Youth Forum. Paul said that as a result of the lack of employment opportunities the young people in the area were left with no choice but to come up with the strategic plan.
Paul said that because of the young people’s enthusiasm and passion for what they do, he has no doubt that the strategic plan will go on to be a significant success in the Greater Enagh area.
“The young people of this area are leading the way for Strathfoyle and Maydown,” said Paul.
“In recent times, they were awarded an Impact 2012 Award for Rural Sustainability - that’s just one example of how passionate they are.
“The young people of Enagh Youth Forum are well aware of what effects certain issues are having on the local community but they are not taking it lying down.
“They know what challenges this community faces and it’s as a result of this that they came up with a list of steps they want to take to make their community get better.
“There’s real talent and passion amongst the young people here and myself and Eamonn [O’Donnell] know that if given the right help and support they will certainly make their voice heard.”
The annual Enagh Youth Forum Mini Family Fun Day will take place on Wednesday August 15. For further information or to get involved contact Eamonn or Paul on 028 7186 0377.