Ten years of Club United!

Staff members at Club United, pictured celebrating their 10th anniversary this week. From left are Sophie Scahill, student, Leanne McGahan, Play Worker, Louise Stevenson, Senior Play Worker, Elaine Campbell, Manager, Stacey Watson, Playworker and Laura Watson, Playworker. 3108JM21

Staff members at Club United, pictured celebrating their 10th anniversary this week. From left are Sophie Scahill, student, Leanne McGahan, Play Worker, Louise Stevenson, Senior Play Worker, Elaine Campbell, Manager, Stacey Watson, Playworker and Laura Watson, Playworker. 3108JM21

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There were celebrations galore this week at the home of Club United Out of School Club at Glendermott Valley Business Park.

Ten years after the group started up they are still going strong, and providing a vital lifeline to parents in the area who would otherwise struggle to find affordable childcare after school and during holiday periods,

Elaine Campbell, Manager of the club, said while it has been a constant struggle to secure funding, staff are delighted to be celebrating ten years.

“Here’s hoping we’ll last another ten now!” she says.

“We have kids here from primary one right through to primary seven and they’re a really close knit bunch. The majority of parents who avail of the services here are working parents and they would be lost without Club United. The whole thing started when a group of parents came together in 2002 because they saw a need for quality, affordable childcare. Through a lot of hard work, commitment and loyalty the club is still going strong. The staff and management committee have faced trials along the way due to threatened funding cuts, however they have come through the other side, continuing to provide a fun and caring environment for children.”

The club currently have a team of professional, experienced staff who run the play sessions and the overall running of the club is the responsibility of a voluntary management committee. The club is open to children aged 4-12 years after school from 2pm-6pm and holiday sessions run from 8am - 6pm, meaning the services are available all year round.

“There are very few days when we’re not open, maybe Christmas Day and Boxing Day and that’s it. We have two long term members of staff and other staff who have come over the years and we have a great management committee behind us,” says Elaine.

Elaine admits much of her role in recent years has been about trying to secure funding.

“We have really struggled and a lot of my time recently - probably about 80 per cent in fact - has been spent trying to secure funding to let us continue to do what we’re doing. The club is funded through fees charged as well as support from OFMDFM which provide the club with much needed assistance each year.

“Other charities that have contributed to the club are Lloyds TSB Foundation for Northern Ireland, Derry City Council, Bryson Energy, Tesco Charitable Trust, The Hedley Foundation and more. We’d also like to thank the staff at Playboard - the leading agency for the development and promotion of children and young peopls play in Northern Ireland who have been a great inspiration and support in recent years.”

For more information on Club United contact 02871 349424 or email clubunited@btconnect.com