Minister for Children & Youth Affairs launches standards and supports for volunteer-led youth groups

Volunteer-led clubs and youth groups support over 100,000 young people in Ireland

Frances Fitzgerald, TD, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, today launched the National Quality Standards for Volunteer-led Youth Groups in St Andrews Resource Centre, Pearse St, Dublin. The Minister also launched an innovative ‘Route Map’ resource to support volunteers and staff. The ‘Route Map’ was developed by the Centre for Effective Services on behalf of her Department.

It is estimated that volunteer-led clubs and youth groups support over 100,000 young people in Ireland. Minister Fitzgerald described volunteer youth work as “the bedrock of the youth work sector”.

The new Standards and ‘Route Map’ aim to improve the quality of youth programmes and are a set of statements on how to provide quality, fun and supportive programmes and activities for young people in safe environments. In addition, the Standards ensure that young people have a say in the planning, design and delivery of programmes and become more involved in the running of their youth groups.

Commenting on the new Standards, Minister Fitzgerald stated: “These standards are designed to further support volunteer-led provision and to promote quality so as to ensure that this valuable work will continue to thrive as well as being relevant and responsive to needs of the young people who engage in these groups.”

Also speaking at the launch was Noel Whelan, a volunteer youth worker in the Pearse Street area, who said that “Youth services have evolved and provide a professional standard of services to and with young people, as has the volunteer youth worker. The National Quality Standards Framework will be an additional tool in the volunteers’ repertoire to ensure best practice continues in youth services across the country.”

The National Quality Standards for Volunteer-led Youth Groups have been developed for youth groups funded via VECs by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs. While all groups funded under the Local Youth Club Grant Scheme and via the City of Dublin Youth Service Board and Waterford Youth Committee will be required to implement and adhere to these standards, volunteer-led youth groups that are not in receipt of funding from the DCYA are also encouraged to use them.

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