€5.5m increase in funding for youth services welcomed
Ireland has one of the youngest populations in Europe: investment needed to meet growing demand for services
The National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) – which represents groups working with over 380,000 young people nationwide – has welcomed the announcement by Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr Katherine Zappone, TD, of an additional €5.5m funding for youth work programmes.
Mary Cunningham, NYCI Director said: “We welcome the announcement that there will be an increase in funding for youth work services in Budget 2017. This will provide much needed additional support to our member organisations, their 1,400 staff and 40,000 volunteers who are working with over 380,000 young people in every community across the country.
“We look forward to engaging with Minister Zappone and Department of Children and Youth Affairs as further detail on the breakdown of funding in this year’s budget emerges.
In the meantime, this investment is to be welcomed, as it in line with the commitments set out in the Programme for Government to ‘fund an expansion of Youth Services that support, in particular, Early School Leavers into employment and in recognising the value of such services and groups’” added Ms Cunningham.
Implementation of National Youth Strategy
“Any increase in resources for the youth sector will also help drive the delivery of the new National Youth Strategy. This cross-governmental strategy seeks to support young people to be active and healthy, to achieve their full potential in learning and development, to be safe and protected from harm, to have economic security and opportunity, and to be connected and contributing to their world. Youth organisations are uniquely placed to help implement and deliver on these outcomes,” said Ms Cunningham.
Growing youth population
“It is only right that funding for youth services is increased, as demand for our members’ services is growing. Ireland has one of the youngest populations in Europe, with one-third aged under 25. It is estimated that the number of 10 to 24 year olds will increase by up to 13% between 2015 and 2020, so it is imperative that services are sufficiently funded in line with this growth,” continued Ms Cunningham.
Value for money: every €1 spent on youth services the state saves €2.20
“It is worth noting, that as well as making a very significant social impact, the youth sector also delivers exceptional value for money. An independent report by Indecon on the economic value of the sector indicated that for every €1 spent on youth services the state saves €2.20 euro in the long run. With further resources youth organisations can make an even greater contribution to addressing issues including youth unemployment, social exclusion and poverty.”
Overall budget could be better for young, but funding a boost
“We have noted elsewhere that the Budget overall does little for young people and – in its treatment of those on social welfare – is in fact discriminatory, but it is to be welcomed that after many years of cuts and stagnation in funding this increase for the youth sector does provide a much needed boost for vital supports and services for young people,” concluded Ms Cunningham.
NYCI is a membership-led umbrella organisation that represents and supports the interests voluntary youth organisations and uses its collective experience to act on issues that impact on young people. www.youth.ie