- Minister Announces Funding Scheme for Youth Cafés and Launches Youth Café Guide and Toolkit -
Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Barry Andrews TD has announced details of a youth café funding scheme of €1.5m from dormant accounts funds and launched two publications: Youth Cafés in Ireland: A best practice guide
and Youth Café Toolkit: how to set up and run a youth café in Ireland
The research on Youth Cafés in Ireland was commissioned by the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs (OMCYA) on behalf of the National Children's Advisory Council and conducted by the Child and Family Research Centre, NUI Galway. The aim of the research and publications is to contribute to the formation of a solid policy foundation for the support and development of the youth café model of intervention with children and young people in Ireland.
Speaking at the launch Cormac Forkan of the Child and Family Research Centre, NUI Galway and a co-author of both publications, said: "These two documents should assist those at various stages of involvement with youth cafés. The purpose of the work was to contribute to the formation of solid policy foundation for the support and development of youth cafés and to provide practical assistance to those who are running existing facilities or about to set up a new ones. Many common issues of concern can be identified from the shared experiences of all those who have already moved forward which can assist those who are about to become involved. The Child and Family Research Centre is indebted to the many young people nationwide who assisted us in our work".
Speaking at the launch, Minister Andrews said: "In the National Recreation Policy for Young People, published by the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs in 2007, youth cafés were named as a key need by and for young people. The Government is now committed to the expanded provision of youth cafés on a phased basis around the country and to the support where possible of existing cafés".
Minister Andrews added: "These developments respond to the repeated emphasis young people have placed on the need for such recreational spaces. They recognise the achievements already made by many groups in establishing youth cafés around the country and ensure a solid policy foundation for youth café development and the expansion of safe quality recreational spaces for young people".
"I am delighted to announce this scheme and publish these practical guides, which will help young people and local communities in setting up and running youth cafés throughout the country,' continued the Minister. The Minister noted that many organisations have an interest and involvement in youth cafés and there are approximately 30 such cafés already up and running. 'Existing youth cafés have strong common features in that they provide a dedicated, quality meeting place which is determined by young people, for young people, in partnership with adults in the community. The guidance provided in the evidenced-based Best Practice Guide and Toolkit promotes and supports the importance of these features," added Minister Andrews.
The Minister noted that the scheme will consist of a total of €1.5m dormant accounts funding to be allocated to both new and existing facilities. "The majority of the funding will be awarded to the setting up of new youth cafés, with approximately 22% of the funds going to the support of existing youth cafés that wish to improve or expand existing services or facilities," continued the Minister.
Vicky Wall, a teenager who was a regular user of a youth café said: 'Squashy Couch to me was not just a youth café but was a great part of being a teen. Being able to just go into the café, chill out, have a good chat with friends and staff and have a cuppa tea was a huge escape from school and study. The events were always top class and the services were a great help. Being a volunteer now means I can give my time back to the café and help keep it going for teens today' concluded Vicky.