200 Foróige volunteers attend 43rd National Leaders’ Conference

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Foróige-Notinuse April 16, 2013

200 Foróige volunteers attend 43rd National Leaders’ Conference and hear that new study shows Foróige volunteer-led youth clubs improve young people’s life skills!

Almost 200 Foróige volunteers from all over the country attended the 43rd National Foróige Leaders’ Conference, which took place in Sligo recently. New figures released at the conference - themed ‘Learning for Living Life’ - show that we now work with 56,127 young people and 5,442 volunteers each year through a network of 612 volunteer-led clubs, 150 projects and national programmes such as Entrepreneurship, Citizenship and Leadership.

“This is something that we should all be very proud of. We are the leading and largest youth organisation in the country. While this is a fantastic achievement, it is also a position of much responsibility, a platform from which we must continue to grow, innovate and reach out to all young people,” said Paul Maher, Chairperson of the National Executive of Foróige. The figures come after new independent research carried out on the impact of Foróige volunteer-led youth clubs show they improve young people’s social, psychological and emotional skills.

The NUI Galway study, led by Dr Brian McGrath from the university’s School of Political Science and Sociology, found that young people’s life skills were improved.

The year-long study also found that club involvement promotes a stronger sense of community awareness and belonging, with two out of three young people reporting faring better as a result of being a club member.

“For the first time in our history we have a body of evidence that tells us that youth work works and that what we do in Foróige works,” continued Paul.

The conference also celebrated volunteerism and paid tribute to all the volunteers who give of their time, energy and expertise to help improve the lives of young people across Ireland.

“The Leaders’ Conference is always a fantastic opportunity to learn from other volunteers and gain insights and ideas to bring back to the club. In our work with young people in Foróige Clubs we are in an ideal position to enable young people to develop their skills, confidence and self belief and to empower young people to achieve their full potential,” continued Paul.

The ‘Exploratory Study of Youth Club Outcomes in Foróige Volunteer-Led Youth Clubs' was undertaken by the School of Political Science and Sociology, NUI Galway and led by Dr Brian McGrath in 2012.

The study was conducted to explore what role Foróige clubs may play in contributing towards what can be broadly termed ‘youth development’, including social, psychological/emotional and general life skills.

The exploratory study focused on testing out youth development measures at club level to provide a snapshot of members of the same clubs at two points in time to assess what aspects of youth development are consistent or different in their responses.

Nine clubs involving 118 young people and six clubs involving 71 people were surveyed over one club year, September – May.