Many young people do not have a safe place where they have a sense of belonging, where they have people who believe in them, or a place where they can form positive relationships with adults. Youth Work Ireland, through the clubs and projects run from out Member Youth Services, offers young people from every background a place to go, a listening ear, and support if they need it.
We have over 400 clubs in communities all over Ireland. The local youth club is often the heart of the community where young people, youth leaders, adult volunteers, and staff come together to be part of something important. The youth club encourages participation and fosters a sense of belonging for young people, as well as training and support for volunteers.
Youth Cafés are safe, alcohol-free places where young people can meet friends, have fun, and take part in a wide range of activities. Youth cafés are for young people and run by young people. The young people are supported to set up their youth café by the regional service. There is a number of youth cafés run by Youth Work Ireland services. The informality of the Youth Café offers young people a space to develop relationships outside the school and family structures, while also staying in a safe environment. Youth Cafes also offer the young people who run them, a set of skills that they would not receive anywhere else, such as entrepreneurship, leadership and management. Youth Cafés are an increasingly popular service for young people and are met with a growing demand. Investment will provide dedicated supports and training to multiply the numbers of these cost effective and much needed services throughout Ireland.
Open and informal environments encourage open conversation about health issues for young people. Youth Work Ireland membership services offer targeted health promotion initiatives such as anti-smoking awareness, let’s talk about sex, mental health awareness, counselling services, drug education and addiction supports. A number of our programmes have own awards for their positive impact. Investment will allow us to ensure that the best of these programmes are available nationally.
With the rise in the nuclear family, isolation and a lack of extended family means there is a need for extra family support. Youth Work Ireland member services are part of the fabric of the community, which allows them to identify and support families experiencing difficulties before these difficulties can become overwhelming. Our members offer support in the form of counselling, education, mental health supports and events in the community to bring families together.