The recent Budget in October 2008 saw the Government cut the funding lines to youth work by €4 million. The details of the impact of this cut are not clear currently but it will impact on youth services funding at national and local level in 2009. These cuts will not be reversed. Further cuts are anticipated in late 2009 for 2010, so it is vital that the youth sector mobilises to resist further cuts in 2010. The upcoming local and European elections offer an opportunity to put funding for youth work on the agenda.
What do we want to achieve?
The further development of youth work services and supports in Ireland so that young people across the country have the opportunity to get involved and participate in youth work. We want the Government to:
*Reduce the impact of cutbacks on funding for youth work and youth services.
*Fully implement the Youth Work Act 2001.Carry out a funding review of the sector and establish a structured funding system that recognises the core needs of youth organisations.
*Develop a successor to the National Youth Work Development Plan for the period 2008 – 2012.
Youth work represents huge value for money and makes a vital contribution to the education of our young people. It gives young people the opportunity to participate in a range of non-formal and structured activities along with providing the social and personal skills that are needed to face key challenges when growing up. In the current climate it is even more vital that we now ensure that investment in support services for young people is maintained.
Between 2002 and 2007 substantial progress was made with the Government in getting increased funding for youth work Over the past two years funding has been reduced despite our insistence that continued funding was needed to continue building youth services in local communities. The full impact of these cuts have filtered down to local level, and in some cases have led to services and supports being cutback and discontinued, with some groups and activities disappearing as a result. We will continue to lobby and campaign on this issue.
What can I do?
As an organisation: Lobby government to allocate required funding to youth sector.
As an individual: Support NYCI by engaging in debate with your local TD on the importance of the youth work sector.