The Irish Minister opens city youth café


Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone said she was thrilled to officially open the bright and colourful Manor Youth Café, one of about only 100 across the country.

After pulling the curtain strings to unveil the plaque, Minister Zappone said: “It is so impressive that the young people themselves have thought about it, strategised, designed and helped create this with the adults who are running the centre.”

Dylan Roche, John Paul Power and Riana Kavanagh all shared their stories of their involvement in the centre and the Manor Youth Café. The Minister remarked, “It was so inspiring to hear the stories of some of the young people who came to the centre. Dylan spoke about his own engagement and now he is on the board of the centre. That is inspiring, because it demonstrates the effectiveness of the work that goes on here. That enables our young people, not only to find ways to do what they want to do, but also to become leaders within their community.”

She loved Richard Power’s rendition of his beautifully written song Daydreamer. The Children’s Minister also spent time meeting the young people who use the centre and listening to their stories during a walk about tour.

One of the highlights of the visit was to the Youth Information Centre, and meeting the Youth Media Group who earlier in the year had produced a video on Equality - what it means to young people and how inequality impacts on their everyday lives. The Youth Information Coordinator for the Waterford & South Tipperary Youth Information Service Mr. Bernard Hackett, introduced the group who then had a very engaging chat with the Minister.

Mayor of Waterford City and County, Cllr. Pat Nugent acknowledged the efforts of the board, staff and volunteers of Waterford and South Tipperary Community Youth Service, along with the effort of the youths involved. “The results of these efforts are here today for all of us to see in a colourful and vibrant and safe space in the heart of Waterford city.”

Minister of State for Training and Skills John Halligan recalled how he attended the Manor St John’s school, which was based where the centre is today. Now it is a hub for hundreds of young people, seven days a week.

“The Centre also actively engages on specific issues affecting young people and its presence in the city centre has significantly enhanced the lives of hundreds of young people, for example through the Chill Out LGBT Youth Project, Manor Street Music, the XLC Project and the many other varied projects and services it delivers,” he said.

Chairperson of Waterford and South Tipperary Community Youth Service, Andrea Burke said the board is very proud of the redesign and refurbishment of the café, which “now looks and feels like a young person’s space.” Manor Street Youth and Community Centre, officially opened in 2009, is where young people can access a wide range of youth opportunities, Information, services and supports. 

For more information, contact Bernard Hackett:

Jessica Walker