The crack was mighty as the Fountain sparkled into life for summer with an open day detailing the Cathedral Youth Club’s full programme of activities and events for the months of July and August on Wednesday, July 1.
The gods were smiling on the estate as the community came out in force for fun, games and refreshments amid balmy July temperatures.
Youth club coordinator, Jeanette Warke, said it was great to see the good turnout and explained how this year the Fountain’s packed programme will cater for everyone.
“This is a programme we run every year,” Jeanette explained.
“It usually runs seven or eight weeks and this year we are running it from today (July 1) to August 21 and there’s lots of trips, all different activities for the kids and today is actually motivating them and challenging them because what we’ve done is worked with a young student from the Foyle Language School, Roger, from Portugal, and he has devised all these games that Portuguese kids play.”
Jeanette says there will be a strong thread of educational emphasis running through the programme and that she hopes the choices on offer will help coax young residents away from their smartphones, tablets and game consoles for a while, during the better weather.
“So instead of sitting on laptops and computers today the kids have all been encouraged to join in and have fun,” said Jeanette.
“It’s hard to get them away from computer screens, I may as well tell you, but, you know, today as you can see behind me there’s a lot here and I think the weather, to be honest, the weather’s just fabulous and it’s made it.
“Their parents, their grannies and their aunties are here as well and the T-shirt I’m wearing is just part of an art project we did last night.
“So all the workshops will be geared to the kids making something. They’ll be working with FabLab in the Nerve Centre as well, they’ll be working with local historians and local artists.
“So as well as day trips we’re trying to promote a lot of educational activities as well,” she added.
On Wednesday, teenagers from the area kicked things off with their very own fashion show.
“All the teenagers have come up with the idea that they would like to model outfits. All the proceeds here today - it’s a voluntary donation - and we’re giving it to Macmillan Cancer, ” explained Jeanette.
And as well as using the Youth Club as a hub for its summer programme, the Fountain MUGA pitches will also be heavily utilised throughout the summer for various games and activities from skipping and hula-hooping and bowling to football.
Jeanette says the whole idea this summer is to be inclusive and get everyone involved.
“We feel we shouldn’t just concentrate on one age group and we’ve gone out to include everybody. To finish it up we’ll have a day out for the parents. A mystery tour.”
So it’s going to be a busy few months?
“Every day. Every week. It’s a challenge but it’s a worthwhile challenge.”
Jeanette expressed her gratitude to the new Education Authority for supporting its summer programme.
See next week’s print edition of the Sentinel for full picture coverage from the Fountain open day.