• Every €1 invested in youth work – economic benefit to State is €2.20
• Investment is not only socially just, but economically prudent
• Youth population to grow 13%
• 40,000 volunteers need support
The National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) has called on Government to invest in young people and youth work services in Budget 2016. The council represents youth organisations that are active in almost every community, reaching over 383,000 young people.
Mary Cunningham, NYCI Director said: “Youth organisations are particularly active in supporting young people from economically or socially disadvantaged communities, with 53% of all participants coming from these areas. They work in a range of areas, such as promoting active citizenship and supporting the participation of young people in education, training and employment – as demonstrated in the Ballymun Youth Guarantee pilot project.* They also deliver programmes to promote positive mental health, school completion, Garda diversion and to prevent substance misuse. The track record and credibility of the youth sector is also demonstrated by the high levels of participation by young people here in youth services.”
Youth population to grow 13%
Ireland has the highest level of involvement in youth services in the EU, with 26% of young people active in a youth club.** Unlike many other countries in western Europe, Ireland has a growing youth population. Between 2015 and 2020 the number of young people aged 10 to 24 will grow by an estimated 13%. Ms Cunningham explained that this positive development would also create challenges. “However, with adequate resources the Youth Work sector is well placed to support young people to reach their potential and make Ireland the best country in the world in which to be a young person.”
National Youth Strategy – resources and implementation vital
“We welcome the publication by Government of the National Youth Strategy last week, which is designed to address the needs of Ireland’s 800,000 10 to 24 year olds. This document has the potential to make a positive difference in the lives of young people, but only if the resources are provided. We call on the Government to signal its intent by providing additional resources in Budget 2016,” added Ms Cunningham.
“Additional funding for the Youth Sector in 2016 would also support the 40,000 volunteers who work for and with young people in almost every community in the country. The funding cuts of recent years mean that organisations are not able to provide the level of support to volunteers they would like. This results in much of the additional regulatory and governance requirements falling on volunteers, which in turn reduces their face to face time with young people and in some cases volunteers stepping back because the burden becomes too much.
31.7% cut since 2008
The current expenditure for youth work services from the Department of Children and Youth Affairs has fallen by almost 31.7% since 2008 from €73.1m to €49.9m in 2015. In 2008, the per capita spending on young people through investment in youth work services was €76, this would equate to over €63m in 2015.
Ms Cunningham said: “At present, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs are spending just under €50m. We have proposed that they increase the investment by €5m – or 10% – to €55m in 2016 as a first step in restoring funding levels over the coming period.
€1 invested in youth work the economic benefit to State is €2.20
An independent report by Indecon, commissioned by NYCI*** found that for every €1 invested in youth work the economic benefit and costs saved by the State in the long run are €2.20. This study demonstrated that investment in youth work not only supports young people to reach their full potential and become active citizens. It also reduces long-term costs for the state in relation to the health, justice and welfare services for young people. Therefore further investment by the Government in youth work services in Budget 2016 would not only be good for young people and be socially just, it would also be economically wise,” concluded Ms Cunningham.
For further information, please contact Daniel Meister, Communications Manager at NYCI on 01 425 5955 or 087 781 4903 or email email@example.com
Notes to Editors:
National Youth Council of Ireland
The National Youth Council of Ireland 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.
*Policy and Practice Report, Key Learning from the Ballymun Youth Guarantee Project:
** European Commission 2011, “Youth on the Move” – Analytical Report of Flash Eurobarometer Number 319a
*** Assessment of the Economic Value of Youth Work by Indecon Economic Consultants, November 2012 https://www.youth.ie/economic_value