My Department administers a range of funding schemes and programmes to support the provision of youth services to young people throughout the country including those from disadvantaged communities. The funding schemes support national and local youth work involving approximately 1,400 youth work staff working in youth services and communities throughout the country.
The current allocated funding for the youth sector in 2019 is €60.4m; this represents a 2.5% increase on the 2018 allocation. This additional funding will be used to support programmes in areas where there are disadvantaged young people and where there is a pressing need for targeted services to meet the needs of young people.
The Local Youth Club Grant Scheme, which supports youth work activities at a local level, is a part of these funding schemes. These grants are made available to all youth clubs and groups through their local Education and Training Boards (ETBs). Each year, in the region of 1,700 local youth clubs are eligible to apply under the scheme. The Scheme is intended to support the operation of volunteer-led youth projects.
As the Deputy is aware my Department is currently managing the most significant reform of youth services ever undertaken. This will provide an opportunity to identify need and to focus funding on young people most in need of intervention.
Future development and investment in youth services will be informed by the mapping exercise completed in 2017, which mapped youth service provision across the State as well as an Area Profiling, Needs Assessment and Service Requirement tool which was designed in collaboration with the Education and Training Board (ETB) sector and was officially launched in January 2019. This mapping and tool will assist the Department and the relevant ETBs in developing a detailed social demographic profile in terms of both population numbers and deprivation levels. My Department is committed to working with ETBs to identify requirements in their area and facilitate decisions on service requirement by reference to evidenced need.