Anthea & Tanya McNulty

Anthea & Tanya McNulty

With over 22 years volunteering experience between them, the McNulty Sisters are Community Heroes’ for March 2016

In this month’s instalment we are taking a slightly different approach and having two people in our Community Hero slot. It would be unfair to write about one, and not the other of the McNulty sisters, as both have collectively been taking part in community activities for over 22 years. It’s fair to say as far as community spirits goes, these two sisters are keeping it in family. Both ladies have chosen similar careers and are members of the Finn Valley Leisure Centre Staff and give classes in a range of both water based and dry fit activities.

Anthea in the foreground leading a group of young people in an outdoor activity

Anthea in the foreground leading a group of young people in an outdoor activity

Anthea has an Honours Degree Sports Coaching & Development from LYIT and a Dip in Sports and Exercise Science from North West Institute, Fetac Level 5 in Sports and Recreation. She also holds Pool Lifeguard NPLQ, Gym instructor Level 2 REPS and Level 1 in Disability Swim Teaching. Level 1 in Teaching Aquatics with Swim Ireland and Child Protection. Anthea who is also qualified in Aqua Aerobics and Rookie Lifeguarding has a great interest in disability training having completed her Level 1 in Sign Language. She feels that this is an important skill that she can use in her current role so that she will be able to communicate properly, particularly with children who have a hearing impairment. She has also completed Level 2 in Word Processing and Level 3 in Internet Skills

Tanya is the eldest sister and has a Level 2 in Teaching Aquatics with Swim Ireland, a Dip. in Sport and Leisure from North West Institute, Derry and Special Needs level 1 Swim Teacher. She also holds a Survive & Save instructor qualification and levels 1 & 2 Swim Teacher with both Swim Ireland and Irish Water Safety, Child Protection and a FETAC Level 4 in Bookkeeping and Payroll. Tanya is also qualified to teach Aqua Aerobics and Rookie Lifeguard courses.

Both ladies got involved in the local youth club, initially as members where they enjoyed taking part in the club activities and meeting up with school friends.

Senior and Junior Planet Youth Committee Members

Senior and Junior Planet Youth Committee Members

Anthea joined the John Paul Youth club in 2000 as a member, and was asked by Eugene Drumm to become a junior leader at the age of sixteen. As junior member she took part in the Youth Club games and representing them in soccer, uni-hoc and table tennis. She was also a member of the group who took part in a collective between the youth club and elderly residents in St. Vincent’s Close where a mural reflecting the thoughts and memories of the residents was painted on the side of the Old Balor Theatre. She has also taken part in the creation of a music CD and a play with the club. Anthea enjoyed this leadership role and on turning 18 became a senior leader in the club. She has a strong sense of civic responsibility and feels it is important to give back to the community. She has served on the Planet Youth committee for the past eight years and currently works as club secretary. Over the years she has also been the club registrar, competition secretary and vice treasurer. She also supervises every Wednesday at the Junior club and helps out by using her sports qualifications to coach the club 5 a side soccer team as well as taking minutes at meetings and fundraising. She was one of the organisers for the recent official re-opening of the newly refurbished club premises. Anthea believes in building her skills base and to this end has gained her Youth Leadership Level 2 from OCN as well as Autisim Awareness training in 2012 and is hoping to become the club’s Child Protection Liaison Officer. She would also like to take up the position of treasurer for the club in the future.

Tanya joined the club in the early 90’s as a member and took part in soccer tournaments and club activities. Having moved away from home for work for some years she returned in 2009 as a club leader and continues this involvement to the present day. Tanya also filled the post of club secretary for two years and spent time supervising ongoing club activities such as junior discos and other events. She currently helps with fundraising efforts and takes part in walks and sponsorship drives. She completes the Meenycat walk every year to raise much needed funds for the club.

Interior of the newly refurbished Planet Youth premises in Ballybofey

Interior of the newly refurbished Planet Youth premises in Ballybofey

The John Paul Youth Club started in 1983 in the Butt Hall and then following a cross border trip to Derry, it was decided that a drop in centre would be beneficial to the local youth population and this resulted in the beginning of the local drop-in centre. Eventually the John Paul Youth club was combined with the drop in centre and both adopted the name Planet Youth in 2008. The club logo was designed at this time by the members, and incorporated the original John Paul crest, and the New Planet Youth Crest.

The current venue in Dunfrill house received a grant of €50,000 from Pobal to upgrade the centre and provide new music and computer equipment in the youth café for young people. It supports the Daybreak project catering for students up to Junior Cert level, which operates from

Music equipment which has been made available through funding and fundraising

Music equipment which has been made available through funding and fundraising

the venue on Friday’s. The club also has a Young Women’s Group, Break Out Group LGBT, Junior (primary school age) and Senior (secondary school) clubs. The club encourages young people to take ownership of their lives and become more civic minded by taking part in activities that raise funds such as a recent wakeathon which they held.

Both ladies are a shining example of the good work done by youth clubs across the country and how the youth movement empowers and promotes civic responsibility in young people. Both Tanya and Anthea hope to see the club progress and develop further in the future, and, as part of this, they would love to see a dedicated hall facility on site, which would be used to train young people for a variety of skills such as dance, sports, drama and games. In the past, while situated in the former Butt Hall the club won All Ireland dance competitions, and having a resource such as a hall would enable them to incorporate more of these types of activities into their regular activity programme and in doing so, promote a healthier and more active lifestyle for their members. Unfortunately, this has been difficult and the club struggles to pay rent in the current location, without having to add to this expense by renting a hall. That said, the club have excelled, and this year they have two members representing them at national level in solo singing and Irish dancing and they also had an All-Ireland champion in draughts in recent years. The club itself has won Club of the year in 2012, 2013 and 2014 and was runner up in 2010 and 2011 which isn’t bad for a club struggling to continue to provide alternatives for young people.

Being able to incorporate the sports, drama and games would allow them to cater for more tastes, and who knows, it may create a love of a sport, or other activity in young members so they may also go on to emulate their leaders, Anthea and Tanya.

There are so many people in this community who go the extra mile and they all need credit for what they do. For those who work with young people this role must be recognised as being extremely important, as they go on to shape the next generation of young people in this community, and it is therefore, vitally important that their voluntary contribution is both recognised and supported by parents and the wider community as a whole. All too often young people fall by the wayside, and we as a community can be quick to judge, but in judging them, we must also judge ourselves, and ask what we did or didn’t do that would have prevented such things happening. We owe it to this community, and not forgetting the next generation, who will be making the decisions for us, to do whatever we can to support people who give their time to promote and support the youth of today. As previously stated Tanya and Anthea are just two shining examples of this and they are to be commended for their continuing great work.

Go to other Community Heroes

April  May  June  July  August  September  October  November  December  January 2016  February 2016