Both I, and my Department, are committed to ensuring that every young person in Ireland has access to the transformational power that participating in youth services can bring. Government investment in services for young people has increased since 2016 by, in the region of, €8.5m. In 2019 we have invested €63.6M in current and capital funding in clubs, services and young people 2019.
The Targeted Youth Funding Scheme has been allocated €35.18 million for 2019 to provide out of school supports to young people in their local communities to enable them to overcome adverse circumstances and achieve their full potential by strengthening their personal and social competencies. Young people aged 10 to 24 years of age who are described in the National Youth Strategy as marginalised, disadvantaged or vulnerable will be the primary target group for services available through the new scheme.
A further €11m is allocated to 30 national and major regional voluntary organisations through the Youth Service Grant Scheme. This funding is made available on an annual basis to 30 national and major regional voluntary organisations. The continued funding of voluntary youth organisations through the Scheme is intended to ensure the emergence, promotion, growth and development of youth organisations with distinctive philosophies and programmes aimed at the social education of young people.
For 2019, just over €2m in funding is being provided to local youth groups through the Local Youth Club Grant Scheme which supports volunteer-led youth work activities at a local level. These grants are made available to all youth clubs and groups through local Education and Training Boards. The scheme is open to over 1,600 youth groups and clubs. Each year, over 600 local youth clubs benefit from the scheme.
In 2019 €1.37m is available through the Youth Information Centres Programme which funds 21 Youth Information Centres. The purpose of these Centres is to provide young people with access to information on rights, opportunities, benefits, health, welfare and other matters.
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.