9 December 2019
By Elaine Murphy
Two new youth workers are to be employed in Carrigaline as part of ongoing work to restore funding for youth services to pre-2007 levels which is helping to target areas of need in both the county and the city.
Minister Katherine Zappone announced funding to Cork ETB to provide a targeted youth service in Carrigaline as despite the large youth population in the area – and the expansion of school capacities – the absence of focussed services for young people has been obvious.
Youth clubs and services across the city and county have also benefitted from increased funding in the sector with almost €500,000 distributed in capital and refurbishment grants as part of a national €1.7m allocation. This is good news for clubs, cafes and services in the city and county, according to Cork ETB Youth Services which are at the centre of service delivery.
“Youth services struggled with cuts to staffing, working hours and equipment funding for a number of years, but the signs are now much brighter as over €63m is invested this year by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs which includes almost €3m directly for staff-led operations throughout Cork,” said Youth Officer Mick Finn.
“In response to issues conveyed to youth workers on the ground – who can often be the ‘one significant adult’ for young people – increased funding has gone into outreach services for children and teenagers living in emergency accommodation as well as to improve supports for LGBTI young people and other targeted areas.’’
Youth Development Officer Ruth Griffin added: “Cork ETB will continue to operate alongside youth service providers (including Foroige, Youth Work Ireland, Cloyne Diocesan Youth Services, YMCA etc) and schools to try to ensure that changing needs are being met. Area profiling and service requirements are currently underway to keep on top of the changing face of our communities and to ensure that this increased funding is reaching the young people it is designed for.”
This week, Cork ETB is hosting a Youthwork Forum to further the conversation with respect to youth needs in Cork. Some 90 youth workers will gather in Pairc Ui Chaoimh to discuss changing trends in youth needs and examine examples of best practice in an information sharing exchange. “With the changes to the city boundary, Cork City has gone from being an ageing City to a vibrant youthful city and it is imperative we plan our services accordingly to meet the Cities new age cohort,” said Ruth.
“We all know that many young people struggle to achieve their potential, due to mental health, sexual identity or other factors, so the targeted delivery of services by experienced and dedicated youth workers is crucial in getting to them at the coal face. From Beara to Youghal, youth services are operating to support young people outside of school. Work is ongoing to introduce new schemes in geographical areas that require support as well as in specialist niche services to directly impact on changing youth requirements.”