Ardoyne after-schools club celebrates 20 years

Ardoyne After-Schools Club children with staff members Damien Sparks, Paul Toner, Leanne Faulkner and Jessica Flynn Ardoyne After-Schools Club children with staff members Damien Sparks, Paul Toner, Leanne Faulkner and Jessica Flynn
By Conor McParland

A NORTH Belfast after-schools club is celebrating 20 years of service to the local community.
Ardoyne After-Schools Club provides quality, registered childcare during after-school hours for children aged four to 15. Happiness and fun are at the heart of the club’s ethos with endless play opportunities aimed at meeting their social, physical, intellectual, creative and emotional needs. Damien Sparkes, who manages the service, said he wants to welcome more children to the after-schools club to celebrate their 20th anniversary.
“Basically, we collect kids from local schools Monday to Friday and run the club from 1.30pm to 5.30pm,” he explained. “On average, we have around 17 kids a day but we can take up to a maximum of 30 per day.
“We rent out Ardoyne Youth Club and there is great stuff for the kids to do with a sports hall, games consoles, toys, art, music, dressing up, bead-making and much more.
“We provide play opportunities for them in the form of arts and crafts, sports and games. They can get help with their homework if they want but our emphasis is on play and fun.
“We are registered with Social Services so parents can be assured that our qualified, trained and experienced staff can provide quality childcare.
“For me, kids coming here have the chance to interact with other kids and enjoy themselves rather than be stuck in front of a television at a relatives house.
“It’s been a fantastic journey. It’s a balancing act every year as we receive no core funding and rely on parental donations. It would be great to get some core funding to keep the club running for the next 20 years
“We provide something unique for the kids who might not have such play facilities at home and look forward to celebrating our 20th anniversary this year by expanding our service and working with more young people from the area.”
School pick-ups are from Holy Cross Boys/Girls, Bunscoil Bheann Mhadagain, Mercy Primary School, Our Lady’s Deanby and Sacred Heart. After-schools provision is from 1.30pm to 5.30pm Monday to Friday.
For more information, contact Damien Sparkes on 02895438050 or email ardoyneafterschoolsclub@outlook.com

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