Wednesday, 25 March 2009
Dáil Eireann Debate
118. Deputy Brian O’Shea asked the Minister for Health and Children the financial assistance she will provide to an organisation (details supplied) in County Waterford; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12450/09]
Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children (Deputy Barry Andrews): In relation to the funding of youth cafés, my Office has been allocated €750,000 from Dormant Accounts for the development of a structured programme of youth cafés in 2009. Final decisions on the operation of this programme are still under consideration.
As the Deputy will be aware there are already a number of youth cafés in operation around the country. Funding for these existing initiatives is often provided through the local City/County Council and the Health Service Executive. In addition the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs operates a number of relevant funding programmes aimed at supporting community development, locally based community and voluntary groups as well as programmes aimed specifically at supporting projects for disadvantaged youth.
At this stage, the focus of my Office is to bring greater coherence to the approach taken to date, retaining the strong inter-agency element and identifying appropriate models for the future development of youth cafés. Since September 2007 my Office has undertaken a small survey of some of the existing cafés looking at mission/objectives, management and organisation, service levels and the role of young people. Following that survey the National Children’s Advisory Council (NCAC) was requested to advise on the development of a youth café model. Research was carried out by the National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG) and a draft report has been forwarded to me for my consideration. This work will ensure that funding is targeted and co-ordinated most effectively on a model or models of youth cafés which meet the needs of young people themselves. It will also ensure that any funding that may be available will augment without displacing existing inter-agency resources. The NUIG has also been requested to prepare a toolkit and guide to support groups setting up youth cafés. This will be a “how to” guide which will deal with issues such as guiding principles, practical operational matters and provide advice and tips on the day to day management and ongoing development of a café as well as setting up cafés. I intend to launch the NUI Galway Youth Café report and the toolkit and guide as part of advancing the youth café programme in the near future.
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