Members of the IRSP in Dublin recently met with Stephen Clifford, organiser of the Kevin Street Youth Club, in support of the initiative. In the local area there are 465 flats with more than 260 children, but the area suffers from a complete lack of investment and amenities for these children. In dealing with this situation the Kevin Street Youth Club was set up and it caters for over 80 children whose ages range from 4-17 years.
Stephen and his volunteers deserve great credit for their work thus far, with the Club now boasting a pool table, X-Box 360, Ninendo Wii and at present 5 laptops. Plans are also afoot for an increased level of sporting activity and developing a strong sense of community spirit.
Funding and support for the project as Stephen told us, has been hard to come by: ” We received €3,000 Euro from Kevin Street Tenants Association, which was brilliant, but I’d like to see them become more proactive and help us out more if that is at all possible. The Iveagh Trust donated the room, so there is no rent to pay and they also provide the energy needs. After that we receive no funding whatsoever.
We rely on local fundraising such as cake sales and the rest is contributions made by local parents themselves. We are grateful for any help we receive.”
Stephen also has been disappointed with local political representatives: ” We have received no help from elected representative, all they do is pay lip-service to the idea of groups like ours which support communities at a grassroots level.”
Stephen stated that he is not political, but would be grateful of any assistance, and members of the IRSP who live in the area have offered what help they can. The Club hopes to expand and develop to encompass more aspects of youth and community life, including the establishment of a homework club and regular educational trips. It is at this grassroots level that communities must organise, especially those areas that suffer from endemic social deprivation and poverty, to combat the further ill effects of the recent budget. IRSP activists will continue to work vigorously on behalf of, and with, working class people in an effort to empower communities.