Foróige want youth work to be available to all young people in Ireland. For this to happen we need to resource youth work and programmes that are open to all, alongside targeted support for those young people who face additional challenges.
Our ask is for a €15 million transformative investment in youth work in 2024 as part of a Children and Young People’s Budget, with an additional €25 million across 2025 and 2026.
This will reach an additional 83,000 young people throughout Ireland.
Youth work in Ireland is among the best in the world. But investment hasn’t kept pace with a growing youth population and level of need. Young people have a right to develop to their fullest potential - we must resource the work of providing them with the skills, spaces, and confidence to thrive. Now is the time to back our young people.
Youth work is good for young people, for communities, and for the State. Every €1 invested in youth work provides a long-term economic benefit of €2.20. Substantial evidence shows that youth work acts as effective prevention and early intervention for many adverse outcomes, thanks to our community base.
Youth Work Spotlight Areas
Positive and Safe Social Spaces
By creating spaces where young people can come together to meet and interact, youth work fosters young people’s social development, providing positive and safe outlets to connect with others and have fun.
Mental Health and Wellbeing
Research has shown very positive outcomes in relation to mental health and wellbeing for young people engaged in universal youth work, increasing their resilience and supportive networks.
Youth work is able to mitigate the effects of poverty and socio-economic disadvantage on young people, and intervene to support families and communities.
Substance Use and Risky Behaviour
Through safe social outlets and building young people’s decision making and resilience, youth work is shown to prevent risky behaviours such as drug and alcohol use, smoking, and early onset sexual activity.
Anti-Social Behaviour and Crime
Youth work has been proven to increase young people’s empathy, decision-making, and pro-social behaviour, making them less likely to engage in anti-social behaviour and become involved in criminal activity.
For many communities in rural Ireland, youth work has been the antidote to combat young people’s geographical and social isolation, by providing supports outside school and the home which are invariably led by volunteers.
Youth work engages tens of thousands of volunteers that bring a level of expertise, life experience and community connectedness that simply couldn’t be replaced by paid staff. By providing young people with role models, it grows a spirit and culture of volunteerism that will enable our communities to flourish into the future.
Connected Communities and Civic Engagement
Youth work activates young people’s pride and belonging in their communities, nurturing engagement in social and civic life. Research has shown that young people involved in youth work develop a sense of social responsibility, going on to volunteer and take on leadership roles.
Employability and Educational Success
Youth work engages young people in a wide range of non-formal educational programmes and opportunities, which have been demonstrated to support their retention and motivation in school, as well as increasing their career aspirations and employability by building up key skills that prepare them for further education, training, and employment.