A Dungiven community group is hoping to secure funding to expand their services.
Benbradagh Community Support was established three years ago and has approximately 80-100 members, aged 12-16, plus volunteers.
Youth co-ordinator, Colleen Harkin said the group, based on Main Street and which offers projects on a variety of subjects, hopes to increase opening hours and cater for children of P7 age.
“Parents all say it’s great to know there is something local for their kids, especially those who aren’t necessarily into sport, and especially during the summer,” said Ms Harkin. “We would like to open up to kids of P7 age and offer increased hours. If a kid now is going into first year in September they can become a member of the group now and that means they have time to get to know other older kids their age and, therefore, it is less of a transition for them starting high school.”
Ms Harkin added: “I know in my heart this has made a huge difference to these kids, and to their parents and their families. We did a sports project with the boys in April and the first week there were six or seven boys who said they were going to turn up, but 11 turned up on the night, and 17 the next week. We had to get a bigger bus.
“The kids want to be a part of this, and everything we do is in consultation with them. Fingers crossed, if we get the funding for the next three years, we’ll look at bigger premises more suited to the numbers we have.”