Youth Work Ireland's Political Briefing is an annual event which allows a delegation from our membership to travel to Dublin to meet with their Oireachtas members in an informal briefing. The event is a way we as a Federation, communicate the value and extent of the work being done in communities by our youth services every week, and a great opportunity for us to connect our local experiences with national policy work.
This year the event was held in The Mansion House, during Youth Work Ireland Week, and we put forward three key asks to Oireachas members, they were:
1. Ensure the core role of the voluntary sector in youth work provision is protected in any review of the youth service grant.
Voluntary youth services are at the coal face of young people’s lives, they know what works and what is needed. The State and various agencies are critical funders on behalf of the public, and should work in meaningful partnership and respect with voluntary youth organisations.
2. Support the closest connections between Garda Youth Diversion Projects and local communities in new arrangements in this area.
Garda Youth Diversion Projects have been a very successful intervention for young people who are most at-risk. Any change or review in the operationa needs to value community involvement and the role of voluntary organisations in providing the services, to ensure they continue to deliver.
3. Deliver a comprehensive overhaul of relationship and sexual health education in Irish schools building, on best practice with no opt outs.
Increasingly we see the critical role of quality education for young people on relationships and healthy approaches to sexuality. Young people and others see key shortcomings in the schools system. Youth workers and volunteers often have to fill this gap. We now need a guarantee of universal quality education in this area and the youth work sector can play a part.