Youths form new action group to clean skate park

By Maurice Garvey

YOUTHS are involved in a newly formed action group that is helping people to develop ownership and respect of a €1.6m skate park and playground.

Ballyfermot Community Action Group meet at the skate park every morning and evening for a quick cleanup.

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Some of the helpers on the day

It started three weeks ago purely as a Monday to Friday venture, but it now covers seven days a week after more volunteers joined up.

“We are into our third week but it is everyday now after we got more volunteers for Saturday and Sunday,” Ger O’Reilly, youth worker with Ballyfermot Youth Service Adventure Centre.

BYS and O’Reilly started the daily cleanup venture with local kids to foster a spirit of “appreciation and respect for our local park.”

“Loads of kids turned up here this morning (Tuesday) even in bad weather. It is every morning at 10am and in the evening at 5pm,” he said.

“On Monday, the park was packed. As we go around, youth workers talk to other kids about the benefits of the amenity for the community.

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A big crowd turned up to clean the skate park

“Once you reach one kid, it takes off. We had 30 high-vis jackets to give out and they are all gone.”

There have been a few sporadic incidents of anti-social activity and joyriding in the skate park since it opened, but it is a welcome sight to see positive engagement of youths at the amenity, because ultimately that is who it was built for.

BYS also operate a BMX Club at the skate park, and encourage other local youth projects to get involved with the facility as part of their youth programmes.

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Some of the volunteers after

Security is a concern with local representatives calling for fencing to be installed.

Gardai have advised Dublin City Council regarding a “number of concerns with the current security of the park.”

Over the course of an hour, the action group help keep the place tidy, bagging and sweeping up any rubbish or dirt.

New volunteers are always welcome and invited to drop down on one of the mornings.

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