Leading Youth Organisation Mobilises for Challenge of supporting Ukrainian Families

Press Release
Youth Work Ireland
16th March 2022

Youth Work Ireland and its Member Youth Services have been working to develop a comprehensive response to the local challenge of providing for the large numbers of families expected from Ukraine in local communities.

In conjunction with the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY) the organisation and its 20 members have been mapping what is available from youth services for young people who are arriving. Youth services are well placed as community-based organisations with existing infrastructure like buildings and staff to respond but will also need more support with much of their work already pre-planned and funded. Youth Work Ireland has an integrated youth service model which can provide support to a variety of young people based on their needs.  

By mapping out the current services available we can ensure youth workers and volunteers are ready to offer supports immediately to young people arriving into our local communities. We have also highlighted to government how we can build on these supports if more funding is provided. From our work in the past with young asylum seekers we are only too aware of the depth of the trauma experienced by young people coming through crisis situations.  

“Youth Work Ireland is building on our experience to date of working with refugees and new communities around Ireland in local communities and direct provision centres. Youth Services are adapting and linking in quickly as needed as part of a local response, coordinating local provision of donated goods, providing meals and sourcing accommodation, and organising volunteers for integration and support activities. We will link young people to services and agencies through Youth Information Centres and other services to ensure their integration into education, employment, recreation, and social inclusion by advocating and supporting a trauma-informed approach” said Michael Mc Loughlin from Youth Work Ireland.

“Potential extra funding for the organisation would allow for a rapid response to needs by further developing Youth Information to sign post and support young people in a trauma informed manner and provide further direct integration supports including language supports. Other work would involve further supporting volunteers, vetting them, ensuring they are prepared for and able to address trauma and intercultural working and providing more safe spaces and social spaces for integration, trauma informed counselling. In many instances where service dispositions and experience are appropriate, youth services can employ specific resettlement staff in an integrated service setting,” He added.