Foróige’s Blarney Street Youth Project Cork is a targeted service which helps young people to deal with issues associated with marginalisation, social exclusion, early school leaving, youth crime, substance use and family difficulties in a safe friendly environment. The young people who attend the Blarney Street Youth Project are bursting with excitement this week as the League of Ireland Football returns.
Foróige Youth Worker Owen Neenan brings a group of young people, aged 12-16, to all Cork City FC home games. Attending Cork City games and supporting the club are having huge impacts on the project and local community. At risk young people are enjoying being part of a packed Turners Cross every Friday Night. They are greeted at the gate with smiles and given their concession tickets by club community representative John Kennedy (Foróige). They sing and chant for 90 minutes and soak up the atmosphere. In addition to the club welcoming them into the ground, their favourite players and now idols are often kind enough to stop and chat and smile for photos. In a world of growing dependence on technology, the smart phone is no longer their prized possession, replaced by the match day experiences they are sharing with the club. Young people of Blarney Street & Surrounding Areas are now knocking on the door of the project to be involved in the supporters group.
The project and community are benefitting also with the school staff commenting on the young people’s improved behaviour, self-esteem and confidence as the young people are now living for their Friday night at the Cross and are going home after school, putting on their club jersey and playing in the community as opposed to getting caught up in anti-social behaviour. The young people are playing for their local teams in the Northside of Cork City and achieving high accolades such as National Cup last 32 and Cup Finals. Cork City FC is creating a pathway to success for the young people of our project.
Owen Neenan would like to give a special thank you to all the community supporters at Cork City FC, and all the players who give their time to the young people of the project with photos. One young person was lucky enough to receive the jersey of his favourite player and Cork man Gary Buckley at the end of last season! Keep an eye out for the Cork City FC & Foróige Flag proudly promoted at all games this year. CCFC abú!