Youth centre closure is a blow for Donore community

The Donore Youth and Community Centre has been forced to permanently close its doors following a fire that caused irreversible damage.  

The Dublin 8 youth project, which had originally been only temporarily closed due to the effects of Covid-19, was subject to a fire that caused severe damage to the property.  

While the organisers attempted to keep the project going by temporarily relocating to St Kevin’s Hurling Club, they were unable to find a permanent residence. 

How the fire broke out has yet to be discovered and there are still posts campaigning to reopen the centre on the centre’s Facebook page.    

“It was really hard to take,” says Paula O’Connor, a former member at the Donore Youth and Community Centre. “It was literally like one minute it was a place that would be pretty full after school hours to being completely derelict the next. It wasn’t just for kids which is why I think it was so popular, we held things like yoga classes that were popular with older ages. I think the forced closure was especially tough on the close community that we had built there over the years.” 

O’Connor says it’s vital to keep “community-based” facilities for areas like Dublin 8 to allow young people to “find themselves and keep them busy”.

There are still other youth projects and centres in the Liberties that provide brilliant services for all. 

“Despite all that happened to Donore, I’m thankful that there are still plenty of other great places that do similar things that we did, places like the Solas Project and St. Benedict’s.” 

The Solas Project provides a range of programmes for youth – from after-school activities, to workshops that help to build practical and relational skills, the centre has the sole aim to help as many young people as they can.  

According to its website, they “provide a range of innovative interventions that equip and empower young people to reach their full potential, live life to the full and participate fully in society.” 

St. Benedict’s, on Nicholas Street in the heart of the Liberties, has seen a surge in both members and volunteers since the closure of the Donore centre. It offers after-school activities and also pilates and yoga classes for other people in the area. 

O’Connor urged anyone in the area who would like to help out to do so as it is “extremely rewarding to be involved in”.  

“I hope that more and more centres in the area keep popping up. I don’t think people realise just how important they are, so the more in the area the better for everyone.”

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