National Youth Council of Ireland – Comhairle Náisiúnta na nÓg
MEDIA RELEASE: June 29th 2019
Growing youth population: number of 10-24 year olds set to rise to over 1 million by 2025 but funding for Youth Work stuck at 2005 levels
With our growing youth population set to surpass one million by 2025, investment in universal youth services is more important now than ever. However, successive Governments have failed to provide sufficient resources to support youth organisations to meet the growing needs of young people and comply with the increased regulatory requirements. Funding for youth work sustained severe cuts between 2008 and 2014 and while overall public expenditure has increased by 12% since 2011, funding for youth work has only increased by 0.3%. This demonstrates that as our public finances recover, young people in youth work services have not received their fair share and this needs to change in Budget 2020. That was the message from the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) Director , Mary Cunningham speaking at the organisation’s 44th Annual Assembly (AGM) held in Dublin today (29.06.19). The event brings together representatives from the 51 youth organisations in NYCI membership. These organisations work with over 380,000 young people nationwide.
The 2016 census results indicate that the number of young people aged 10 to 24 will increase by 13.2% between 2015 and 2025 and will be just over one million young people by 2025 (1,005,938)*, making Ireland the only European country with a growing youth population. “NYCI is of the view that wise investment in our growing youth population now would be the best way to ensure long term social and economic success and better secure us against potential financial shocks and economic difficulties,” said Ms Cunningham.
Investment in young people essential
The NYCI is calling on Government to invest a further €16.6 million in universal youth work in Budget 2019 to strengthen voluntary youth work organisations, to provide more supports and activities for young people and to meet the needs of a growing youth population.
Key Funding Scheme still at 2005 levels
NYCI is calling for an investment of €3m in the Youth Service Grant Scheme (YSGS) in 2020. This scheme supports 30 national and major regional youth organisations to deliver mainstream youth work and support local groups, branches and units in every community in Ireland. NYCI analysis shows that the YSGS funding in 2019 is still at 2005 levels: fifteen years ago, the funding provided was €10.96m, in 2019 it stands at €11.12m, or just €160,000 (1.4%) more. This does not take into account inflation of 16% since 2005.
“It is no wonder that youth organisations are under severe pressure to provide services to an increased and more diverse cohort of young people with complex needs and also manage the significant increase in regulation and compliance requirements. This has led to an unsustainable situation and is why NYCI is calling on Government to allocated increased funding to Youth Work in Budget 2020,” stated Ms Cunningham.
Economic benefit: state saves €2.20 for every €1 spent on youth work
“For every €1 spent on youth work, the state gets a return on investment of over 100%, according to an Indecon report on the economic benefit of youth work,” added Ms Cunningham. **
“Investment in youth work services will not just make a difference now, but will generate a social and economic dividend over the coming decades. As the title of our Pre-Budget submission ‘A Fair Share for Young People and Youth Work’ illustrates, young people and our sector has got a raw deal in the last decade, not only have we endured severe cuts for many years, but despite the improvement in our public finances, we have not benefitted, that needs to change with a significant investment in youth work as set out in our submission in Budget 2020,” concluded Ms Cunningham.
For further information, please contact Daniel Meister, Communications Manager at NYCI on 087 781 4903 or 01 425 5955 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editors:
National Youth Council of Ireland
The National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) is a membership-led umbrella organisation that represents and supports the interests of voluntary youth organisations and uses its collective experience to act on issues that impact on young people.
*Population Estimates, CSO:
E3003, Population 2011-2016 by Single Year of Age, Sex, County and City, CSO, https://www.cso.ie/px/pxeirestat/Statire/SelectVarVal/Define.asp?maintable=E3003&PLanguage=0
**Assessment of the Economic Value of Youth Work, Indecon Economic Consultants, NYCI, 2012