By Siobhan Curran, IMPACT Ireland’s community services are under attack. IMPACT’S Boards and Voluntary Agencies branch is launching a campaign to highlight the invaluable work done by IMPACT members in the youth sector. As cutbacks deepen, workers cont …
By Siobhan Curran, IMPACT
Ireland’s community services are under attack. IMPACT’S Boards and Voluntary Agencies branch is launching a campaign to highlight the invaluable work done by IMPACT members in the youth sector. As cutbacks deepen, workers continue to provide vital services to young people under growing pressure.
This short film features staff and children at the Balgaddy after-school club. The initiative provides a comfortable atmosphere for informal education and recreation and a place to mingle with peers in a safe and fun environment.
There are hundreds of youth organisations in Ireland, working with thousands of young people in our communities. These services are not offered by the State, they are run by community and voluntary organisations, all with the best interests of the young people at their core. But we all know that these youth clubs and youth projects cannot run on good will alone. Commitment and motivation is what is asked of these young people, and it is also what is needed to keep these projects going in these austere times.
‘Austerity’ is not a word in the language of our youth, yet these are the very people who are being affected by it. And not for just today, this is the generation that will bear the scars well after ‘austerity’ has been ceremoniously disbanded, like the recent fanfare at the ending of the bailout period. Youth services across Ireland are being slashed by budget cuts and it is the kids in this video who will ultimately pay the price.
Severe budget cuts in the last few years have resulted in redundancies and reduced services for the young people that need them. These services provide a vital connection between their own lives and the lives they may aspire to.
Young kids learn to socialise and have fun, while developing their skills and confidence through informal education and group initiatives. These services often pick up the pieces of young people who leave school early and who might otherwise remain on the fringes of society. Indeed, as some of the young people in this short film demonstrate, they have progressed onto 3rd level education due to the intervention of their local youth service.
Observing first hand, the real impact that the local youth service has had on these young adults is inspiring to say the least. And it doesn’t stop there, these young adults have been inspired by the people that made this impact in their lives. It is no surprise therefore that they are studying to become youth workers themselves. And so the cycle continues.
Can the great work of these services really be quantified? Unfortunately, if they continue to decline in impact and effectiveness due to decreasing funds, then we will surely soon find out. But in the meantime, let us celebrate the wonderful work of our youth services, and commit and motivate ourselves to not let the decision makers forget how absolutely vital and incredible they are.
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