Gaining Ground

The Gaining Ground Probation Project was established in 2008 as additional and further development to the work with young people already undertaken by the Cox’s Demesne Youth & Community Project in partnership with The Probation Service. The Gaining Ground Probation Project targets 16-18 year old who have been referred to the Probation Service via the courts, for the purpose of training and activities orders and community service.

A team building motivational activity

Overall Aim

To assist the Probation Service in its implementation of training and activities orders under the Children’s Act 2001 and in line with Y.P.P and Irish Youth Justice Service objectives by providing individualized needs based programmes.


Training Workshops


Forklift Driving

Safe Pass

Driver Theory Test

Job Seeking Skills


Woodwork piece created on Gaining Ground project



Mentoring and support to access mainstream training programmes & to sustain participation in them.




Training in the gym


Horse Riding

Film making

Outdoor pursuits

Multi Media



Gaining Ground Probation Project and Strengthening Families Programme

The Gaining Ground Project successfully piloted Louth’s first Strengthening Families Programme in 2010. The Strengthening Families Programme (SFP) is a USA evidence based family skills group held over 14 weekly sessions aimed at parents and their teens aged from 11-17 years. The programme was first created in 1982 by Karol Kumpfer and associates at University of Utah. SFP has been proven to help build communication skills, family and behaviour management. The Strengthening Families Programme is designed to allow parents and their children build new, healthy parent/child communication skills that build up positive relationships within families. These new skills assist and reduce high risk behaviours that may lead to substance misuse, depression, violence and aggression, involvement in crime and school failure in 12-17 year old children.  The first pilot of SFP (12-17 years) in Ireland was delivered in Cork in January 2007 by an inter-agency group consisting of the Cork local drugs task force, the Probation service (YPP), HSE and other agencies.  The Young person’s Probation Service (YPP) through the community funded project LeCheile is one of the main funders of SFP in Ireland and have funded and supported many Strengthening Families Programmes nationally since 2009. For more information on Strengthening Families Programme please visit

The team of professional facilitators who delivered the strength and families programme

The Gaining Ground Project has just completed its second SFP programme in Dundalk, based in the Armagh Diocesan Pastoral Centre. It has been an even further success with a total of eleven families taking part and completing the fourteen week programme. Parents and their teenagers took part in their own separate workshops and then joint family workshops that targeted learning and skill based areas such as communication skills, family values, anger and emotional management, problem solving, goals and objectives, sexual health and healthy relationships. The main focus been the strengthening of the entire family unit.


The facilitators who are making the SFP Dundalk programmes a huge success come from a range of different agencies such as the Probation Service, the HSE, The House Youth and Community Project, The Voluntary and Private Youth and Community Sectors.


If you would like further information regarding SFP Dundalk please call

Paul Owens Coordinator

on (087 9232170) or email




This programme is funded by the following agencies:

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