Youth Council welcomes increased €5m investment in youth services
Budget ‘recognises impact of Covid-19 on young people and role of youth work’
The National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) – which represents groups working with over 380,000 young people nationwide – has ‘warmly welcomed’ the additional €5 million in funding provided for youth services nationwide in Budget 2022 announced by Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Dr Roderic O’Gorman TD, today.
Youth services funding welcome
Reacting to the budget Mary Cunningham, CEO of the NYCI, said: “The €5m in additional investment in youth services announced in Budget 2022 is very welcome. This funding indicates a recognition of the impact Covid-19 on young people’s lives, and the vital role youth services play in helping respond to and mitigate the worst of these.”
Minister’s Role acknowledged
“We would like to acknowledge Minister O’Gorman’s work in ensuring that the recognition of the important role youth services played over the course of the pandemic to date has translated into funding that will help the youth sector continue to provide essential supports for our growing youth population.
“We look forward to working with the Minister and his officials as the details of the budget emerge in the coming days and weeks to support them to ensure that the increased funding allocation is targeted where it delivers the most benefit for young people,” continued Ms Cunningham.
Public support vital in recognition of value of youth work
“A huge thanks is also due to our member organisations and to all of those who supported young people by signing and sharing our Budget 2022 petition. Over 3,000 used their voices to call on the Government to properly fund youth work in Budget 2022, and ensure that young people in Ireland get the pandemic recovery that they deserve,” added Ms Cunningham.
Youth Services supporting young people through the pandemic
“Young people have borne a disproportionate brunt of the fallout from the pandemic. In the last year, we have seen a significant rise in youth unemployment, with almost 1 in 5 young people affected. We have also seen a serious impact on young people’s mental health as a result of the pandemic. They have experienced difficulty in getting support from friends and networks, and a huge number of young people have missed out on key life landmarks and experiences, while the interruption to education has caused massive difficulties for many young people.
“Ireland’s young population is growing all the time – we will have more than one million people aged under 24 by the year 2025, a full fifth of our population. Young people are such an important part of our society, and they need and deserve real, meaningful support. The youth sector demonstrated tremendous resilience in its handling of the challenges caused to services and organisations by the pandemic. In order to recover, to recruit volunteers, and to re-engage young people – particularly vulnerable, marginalised and at-risk young people who are among the hardest hit, it is important that funding is also directed towards the rebuilding of youth services,” concluded Ms Cunningham.
The report also showed an overall 62% reduction in the number of youth groups – a loss of more than 1,000 groups and clubs. Additionally, 61% of the services surveyed saw a decrease in volunteer involvement, with figures falling from 11,102 in 2019/20 to 3,951 in 2020/21, equating to a drop of 64%.