Butts children will be praying for good weather this Saturday, otherwise their promised outdoor family festival of sports games, mini Olympics and bouncing castles and other novelty stalls will have to be postponed.
Residents, parents, teenagers and children have finished festooning the streets of their community with their legendary displays of black and amber for the upcoming historical All Ireland and are now turning their attention to a special family day to mark seventy years of The Butts estate and a community spirit that has contributed much to making Kilkenny the great City it has become.
Parents and teenagers have been meeting over the summer months at the Fr. McGrath Family Resource Centre to organise the event to mark a special year for the community that also brought them a new and long promised public park to replace the many acres of former parkland lost to the community with the building of the traffic roundabout at the Waterbarrack.
The festival will take place in the 4.5 acre site at the back of Connolly Street that will be Kilkenny’s newest public park when it is opened this week. The Borough has installed a new €140,000 Multi User Games Area (MUGA) as the first part of the development of the Breagagh Valley Park project.
The new park adjoins the existing community developed playground, one of the finest in the City, and will be an important public asset for a community long campaigning for open green space to compensate for road schemes that hemmed in children in their housing area.
The festival event will mark the biggest summer programme every held for children in the high density estate. One hundred and thirty five children aged between 5 -16 years registered for the summer programme this year, the fourteenth to be run by the very active local community centre.
Swimming safety lessons, horse riding, fishing trips, film making, anti bullying training programmes and mural painting all featured in a programme that ran every week day for children through the summer. It started in June with the training of local teenagers as junior leaders.
Bord Snip Cuts:
However, recommendations in the McCarthy report could spell the end of these very popular children’s programmes as a question mark now hangs over the future of their community development and family resource centre behind all of these initiatives
The McCarthy’s report recommends closing all 107 of these government support community partnership centres to save the exchequer €18 million a year.
Fifteen year old Junior Leader, Anthony Dawson Doyle, has been involved with the centre since his infancy and has been chairing the public meetings of volunteers to organise the festival.
On behalf of the organising committee Anthony said he would like to thank all the residents of the Butts for their donations and for volunteering their time to help organise and run the children’s day. He also thanked the many local businesses in the City for the generous sponsorship and support that made the community day possible.
He said: ‘ I think that the Fr. McGrath Centre is one of the best things that Butts families ever did in our community and if the Government needs to make cuts to save money to fund the banks they should find it somewhere else. This place is too important to children and parents and it shouldn’t be allowed to close.’
The festival starts on Saturday morning with handball and soccer tournaments for children under twelve and field activities in the new public park starting from 1.30pm at the Fr.McGrath Centre –all are welcome.