EAST Clare Youth Reach is to benefit from an additional classroom facility in Tuamgraney after planning was granted this week for the change of use of a retail unit at Áras Bhriain Bhoru for educational use.
The youth reach organisation has been based at the centre for the past three years where it occupies two units. Following a planning application by Sportsworld Netting Ltd, a third previously unoccupied unit, which was designated for retail use, has been sanctioned for educational use.
The site was originally granted planning permission for a nine-bedroom youth hostel and following further planning applications, permission was granted for three ground-floor retail units and two first-floor apartments. Subsequent applicants saw the change of use of two retail units to educational use. Under this latest application, the last retail unit has been granted permission for change of use to educational.
Currently, East Clare Youth Reach is a 13-place centre, which offers educational services to unemployed early school leavers aged between 15 and 20 years.
The East Clare organisation says there is a demand for its service and it has a waiting list of between six to 10 applicants each academic year.
Liam Keane, programme co-ordinator with East Clare Youth Reach, said the additional unit space would mean the service can increase its capacity, potentially catering for 20 early school leavers.
“In the long term, it will mean being able to increase our numbers. There are growing numbers of young people out of school and there is a need for a facility like this in the East Clare area. We are 13-place centre and we have a waiting list of between six to 10 people. We hope to use the additional unit as an IT room or as a general classroom,” he said.
The additional classroom facility is to be made available to the organisation from July 1 and Mr Keane said there would be the potential to use the classroom for other training programmes outside those offered by Youth Reach.
The change of use was granted subject to five planning conditions and under these conditions, the proposed hours of operation of the educational facility are noted as weekdays from 9am to 4pm.