Video: The Gathering Place offers a safe haven for Cookstown clubbers

The Gathering Place provides a safe haven for young people on the streets of Cookstown on a Friday and Saturday night, offering free soup, tea and coffee when the nightclubs close.

For the past 14 years, a dedicated band of volunteers have been staffing the centre in James Street, a lifeline for young revellers who’ve drunk too much, or a minority who have chosen to take drugs.

The Gathering Place at the Sacred Heart House of Prayer.

The Gathering Place at the Sacred Heart House of Prayer.

Volunteers help out each weekend on a rota basis and with an influx of young people arriving on buses from Enniskillen, Dungannon, Magherafelt and Ballymena, there are plenty of needs to attend to.

Along with the Street Angels, The Gathering Place within The Sacred Heart House Of Prayer, is one of the projects in Cookstown which reaches out to young people in need when the clubs and pubs close their doors.

The hardy team of volunteers work until around 3:30am ensuring young people are warm and that they get home safely.

Committee members Colum Donaghy and Agatha McKay are two of the volunteers on the rota and they have dedicated their weekends tirelessly to ensure the welfare of young clubbers.

Colum explains: “It’s very rewarding. There’s a great satisfaction in doing what we do. When you’re driving home at 3am or 4am in the morning, you have such a feel good factor because you have given yourself to others and helped them in some way.”

*Read the full story in this week’s Mid-Ulster Mail.