Finnish Ambassador Joins Erasmus+ Exchange Focusing on Foróige Go

Alan May 31, 2024

A two-day exchange programme in Dublin, at the end of May brought together youth work professionals from Humak University of Applied Sciences, Finland to explore Foróige’s Go Digital Youth Work programmes aimed at enhancing youth work provision to young people who are marginalised and isolated. The exchange took place in Foróige Christchurch and Foróige Blanchardstown.

This exchange is a learning activity from Foróige’s Key Action 2 Project with Erasmus+ titled Digital Youth Work with Isolated and Marginalised Young People - Practice Exchange and Development. The Project Card can be found here.

Explore this Spatial link detailing the different aspects of the exchange to Helsinki and Dublin.

Day 1: Foróige Christchurch 

The first day kicked off with a welcome session and an opportunity to meet staff from Foróige Christchurch. A tour of the new space followed by Gareth Carey, Senior Youth Officer, Foróige, setting the stage for a tailored GoVirtual training session which started at 10 AM.

Caroline Cooke, Manager for Foróige Go and NFTE had this to say about the opportunity “This is such a fantastic opportunity for Humak and Foróige to share in our knowledge, develop our ideas and to support further collaborations to enhance youth work provisions to young people who are most marginalised and isolated. We had the pleasure of visiting Humak in Finland last month to see the amazing work they carry out for young people in hospital settings. This was really inspiring and we hope to continue to work with Humak into the future to create a similar format here in Ireland so all young people can access a Foróige service and be part of something more. These types of partnerships enable us to gain more experience in international cooperation and to strengthen our capacities. I really believe that this project will break new ground for the provision of youth work with a specific cohort of young people who face particular challenges in engaging with mainstream youth work offerings.”


Foróige and Humak had the honour of being joined by the Finnish Ambassador to Ireland, Leena Gardemeister. We look forward to collaborating with the Finnish Embassy in the near future, watch this space!

The afternoon schedule included a meet-and-greet with local staff to discuss their roles and the specific needs of young people in the area. We were delighted to be joined by John Fitzgerald, Area Manager for Dublin City, Gareth Carey and Vicky Cullen from the NFTE Programme.

To end the day, a VR meeting took place where students from Helsinki joined virtually, alongside Foróige staff from across Ireland. The day's activities concluded with an enriching trip to Dublinia for the Humak Delegation to get a sense of the history and culture of this part of Dublin City.

Day 2: Foróige Blanchardstown

The delegation from Finland, met Gavin Byrne, Senior Youth Officer, Blanchardstown Youth Service, for a tour of Blanchardstown Youth Service. This was followed by a deep dive with the Foróige Go team, covering all of the Foróige Go Programmes and initiatives and their application across Foróige.

Sarah Haslam, Director of Programmes and Research for Foróige said ‘It is a great honour to welcome Humak University Senior Lecturers, Suvi Tuominen, Sari Huttu and Miki Mielonen to Foróige Blanchardstown Youth Service. Foróige Go Digital Youth Work programmes and practices aim to provide young people across Ireland with key 21st century skills for what's now and next. This Key Action 2 cooperation with Humak University represents the strengthening of capacity in both organisations to deliver the aforementioned aim, with a particular focus on young people who are isolated and marginalised. Humak University of Applied Sciences have been an excellent partner to work with and we look forward to seeing this partnership continue. I would like to acknowledge and thank Léargas for the funding for this project. Thank you to Jean O’Gorman, Foróige Area Manager, Gavin Byrne, Foróige Senior Youth Officer and the Foróige staff in Blanchardstown Youth Service, for hosting this exchange day’.

In the afternoon Kevin Lacey and Joe Reddin, Foróige Youth Officers from the Clubhouse provided the Humak delegation with a tour of the Clubhouse and the new recording studio space, explaining how the Foróige Go Programmes and Resources come to life in youth work practice.