This was an amazing opportunity and supported my confidence and development within a work environment.
My Name is Francis; I am 17 years old, I am a current member of BYC and have been since I was 7 years of age. I live in an apartment beside BYC and found the club as my only means of recreational activity growing up. I love coming to the club to play with my friends and this gave me the opportunity make new ones also. I would run straight home from school, quickly change my uniform and race down the club so I could get in quick to meet my friends. My favourite memories of growing up in the youth club were being involved in various different sporting activities and summer camp trips to Wexford.
As I transitioned to the senior drop-in, I would actively get involved in the more structured youth work programmes, this opened the door for me to explore opportunities and look at potential career paths. one particular programme I was involved in was the work readiness one. This is a programme based over six weeks and I was then presented with an opportunity to go and complete a two-week placement with Arthur Cox law firm. This was an amazing opportunity and supported my confidence and development within a work environment. Another opportunity I availed of was discover university, this entailed attending National college of Ireland to undertake a seven-day course in computing.
These two programmes have completely changed the way that I am thinking about my future and the possibilities of what kind I job I would be able to get. I also believe that because of this, I will be able to avoid the different kinds of criminality in my local neighbourhood.
My time at Belvedere Youth Club started when I was 14 years of age. Even though BYC is open to young people from the age of 7, I never went to BYC until I was 14 because I attended youth services in Sheriff Street. It wasn’t until secondary school, when some of my classmates asked me to come to the club and ever since, BYC has been an integral part of my life, both as a young person and a member of the team.
As a young person, BYC supported me through a tough time in life as a teenager by providing me with a safe space to socialise with friends, play sports such as football and pool. It provided me with great opportunities in traveling abroad through youth exchanges and residentials.
Now, today as a staff member, BYC has supported my professional development in the youth and community work sector by trusting me to run programmes and activities with the next generation of young people in the NEIC. It is such a privilege to work for an amazing organisation which has been a vital service to young people in our community. My plan is to move on to third level education in the future and it is great having BYC behind me.
I first became a member of the youth club at the age of 15, I joined at the same time as many of my friends. BYC was a safe place for me and my friends to hang out and acted as an escapism from the dangers and reality of growing up in the inner city. Whilst in BYC I developed good positive relationships with the workers and other participants. During my time in BYC I was provided with many great opportunities to participant in several different programmes, in particular theatre shows through the drama section. Over the years I transitioned from being a young person in the club to a volunteer and helped out in the club. Participating in the aforementioned, I developed many skills over the years that supported me in my professional career. I began my employment with M&S and while continuing to keep up my relationship with BYC through volunteering. While progressing through the ranks in M&S I got the opportunity to develop a link with BYC and M&S. This relationship continues to grow to date with many collaborations over the years. One highlight of this would be our annual bag packing days which raises funds for the young people’s annual trip to the west end in London. In 2019 M&S were celebrating 40 years in Ireland and I nominated BYC as one of the charities M&S would carry out their CSR day in. I arranged with the Operations Manager in BYC Gillian (who was my youth leader back when I was 15) to bring my Manager (Peggy) down on a visit to BYC. Once myself and Peggy visited, Peggy was blown away by the work BYC delivered and, decide that instead on M&S coming down to the club and spending 1 day there, we came down and spend 3 weeks in the youth club and gave the youth club a facelift. In 2020 as part of the youth clubs restorative conversations programme, we were able to carry out a piece of collocated work between BYC and M&S. This entailed taking 16 young people from BYC and participating in several restorative conversation’s workshops in M&S headquarters in London as part of their annual London Trip that the group had bag packed to raised funds for in January.