Strategic Plan

Youth Work Ireland Strategic Statement 2022-2027

Youth Work Ireland is a federation of 20 Member Youth Services and through the National Office we work with to support our Members located around Ireland to deliver services to meet the needs of young people in their locations.

Our Purpose

Our purpose, at Youth Work Ireland, is to lead out and support our Member Youth Services located throughout Ireland, to support young people across Ireland through best practice youth work, principles and values. We are an inclusive and member-centred organisation.

Our work is in service to our Member Youth Services, as they in turn work to develop the potential of young people and to strengthen communities in Ireland through quality youth work. Young people are at the heart of our work and are best supported through good leadership and excellent standards in volunteering, staff and services throughout the Member Youth Services.

Our Values

We believe that youth work is a unique process of transformation that is voluntary, youth-led and young person centred. This means that young people who engage do so in a voluntary capacity and they decide and choose which activities they take part in. 

We believe in a strengths-based approach to youth work that sees the value and strength in each young person and we work with our Member Youth Services to support young people to reach their potential. We believe in equal opportunities for all young people.

We are an inclusive and member-centred organisation and we embrace youth work values in all we do.

We bring the following values to our way of working, together as a team and within Youth Work Ireland.

Our Strategic Pillars

1. Communications

We will promote and communicate our work, as a National Office, in service to our Member Youth Services and to confirm our role as an organisation for our organisations within Youth Work Ireland. To advance our work under this pillar we will:

  • Communicate our role and purpose as the National Office in service to the federation and as set out in our Membership Charter.
  • Co-create a communication strategy, and plan for the federation in partnership with our Member Youth Services.
  • Work in unison with the federation to purposefully show and share the value of youth work, youth participation and youth clubs.
  • Tell the story of the work of the federation, through a range of methods, researching, documenting and affirming the benefits and power of youth work to transform lives.
  • Celebrate and share the power and positivity of youth work as a vital and valuable way to address policy imperatives.

2. Advocacy

We will continue to advocate, as a National Office of the federation, on all matters relating to youth work and young people as identified by our Member Youth Services. We are, and will continue to be, the collective voice for our Member Youth Services and young people. To advance our work under this pillar we will:

  • We will track our progress by monitoring the advocacy messages and their impact on public awareness, policy formation and the evolution of youth work.
  • Co-create an advocacy strategy and plan for the federation in partnership with our Member Youth Services.
  • Respond to issues arising and seize opportunities to advocate on matters relevant to youth and youth work as identified by our Member Youth Services.
  • Work with our Member Youth Services to harness the local lessons and stories from their work on the ground in order to formulate national policy messages from shared experiences.
  • Be the first point of consultation for government departments on youth work, youth clubs and youth related matters.
  • Claim the space through assertive communication of the value of youth work as an enabler of good outcomes for young people.

3. Support

We will strengthen our organisational structure and the full range of supports we offer in response to needs articulated by our Member Youth Services. We will work to maximise the power and potential of the federal model. To advance our work under this pillar we will:

  • Review and reaffirm the federal model in collaboration with Member Youth Services as the optimal model for youth work in Ireland.
  • Listen and respond to emerging training, developmental and reflective practice needs of Member Youth Services.
  • Recognise the central role of volunteers and renew our support offering to ensure pathways, training and developmental opportunities, and updated policies.
  • Strengthen volunteer networks to support and value volunteering.
  • Maximise the federal structure to support and encourage our Member Youth Services through focused supports including compliance, governance, standards, quality, digital agility and safeguarding.

4. Impact

We will reinforce our work, with and through Member Youth Services to achieve optimal outcomes for young people. We will continue to monitor, evaluate, and research our work in order to evidence the impact. To advance our work under this pillar we will:

  • Collaborate and partner with others in the co-design and implementation of effective national programmes and practices based on robust research.
  • Draw out and document practice and advocacy lessons from, and in collaboration with, our network, and mainstream innovative practices.
  • Create strategic partnerships with research bodies to bring to the fore evidence to demonstrate the impact of youth work on individuals, communities and wider society.
  • Nurture partnerships with all key stakeholders.
  • Lead out in the design of a research programme with partners to explore contemporary themes in youth work practice and keep open dialogue to inform and shape policy