In 1978, Dun Laoghaire was experiencing a rise in drug use and crime amongst its youth. Local concerned individuals formed a group to tackle the problem and provide positive alternatives for young people out of school and those considered ‘at risk’ in the community. This group formed the ‘Youth Project Dun Laoghaire’ (YPDL). Local state agencies came on board and the search for a permanent home began in the early 80s. The first Board of Management included local Curate of St Michael’s Church Fr Brian Power, local Counsellor Jane Dillon Byrne, local Health Education Co Co-ordinator Marian Greene, Dublin Diocese Community Worker Jack Dunphy, NCAP CEO. Peter Burling, Probation Officer Anthony Cotter as well as Nick Mc Donald, Pauline Beirne, Mary Rooney, Brid Ni Driscoil and Niall Mulvany.
The group identified a building at 24 Tivoli Terrace South as a potential site. This building was formerly the Holy Ghost Youth Club and was locally known as ‘the Bosco’ (after the St John Bosco Youth Club). The youth club had long since closed when the derelict building and land was purchased by the Dept. of Justice through Mr Martin Tansey, Principal Officer of the Probation Service in 1983. The Probation Service played a pivotal role in establishing the Centre, acting as the main funding agency for the project. ANCO (pre- FAS/ETB) agreed to renovate the building and establish the project as an approved ANCO training centre. Dun Laoghaire VEC kindly offered to supply teaching hours in support of the work being carried out at the centre.
By the late 1980s the YPDL was flourishing and had established a strong sense of purpose within the local community. Early in the 1990s the YPDL decided to change its name to Tivoli Training Centre as more certification became available. By the early 2000’s the old building was feeling its age and the Board engaged with all its stakeholders regarding future development options. The outcome was a new modern structure, built to allow a much more supportive response to the needs of Tivoli clients.
Today, the main ethos of the Centre remains linked to the original idea of helping those most ‘at risk’ and ‘in need’ in our community. Over thirty years of learning and experience has gone into making the Tivoli Training Centre a key player in enabling change in people’s lives. Long may it continue.