THE increasing use of social media and technology among teenagers have contributed to the closure of Bandon’s Funky Fish Youth Café after 12 years in operation, according to its co-ordinator.
Keith Kingston told The Southern Star that they have been struggling for the past year due to the low numbers attending the café at St Finbarr’s Place.
‘We had an older crowd coming in and when they moved on we struggled to attract new younger members. I’ve put that down to technology and social media. Younger teenagers are socialising differently these days with many spending more time at home and connecting with their friends through their phones,’ said Keith.
‘We have been talking about closing the Funky Fish for the last nine months or so and we nearly closed at the end of last year but we kept it open part time reducing the opening hours to just nine hours over two days.’
It closed last Friday and past volunteers and current members all came to say goodbye to a wonderful facility that offered the youth of Bandon a place to hang out with their friends.
‘I was there from the start and it’s sad to see it go. It was a great project and a lot of people will miss it. Some people were still using it but not obviously not enough to sustain keeping it open.’
Bandon Community Garda Damian White paid tribute to Keith for all his hard work over the past 12 years.
‘We would like to thank Keith for all his hard work and he is a great advocate for young people. It’s obviously very disappointing it’s closing as it was a great resource but the numbers just haven’t added up to keep it open,’ said Gda White.
Past users paid tribute on the Funky Fish Youth Café Facebook page with Rosie Barry saying it was ‘a very sad day’ and that it was hard to believe it was closing, while Amy Patterson said she really enjoyed going there as a teen – ‘Great place, sorry to hear it’s closing.’