Having regard to the need to support often vulnerable young people during the pandemic, the Guidance for DCEDIY funded Youth Work Organisations was updated on the 15th November 2021 to allow for pods of up to 15 young people of mixed vaccination status to be allowed for indoor youth service provision. The guidance provides for larger numbers where all participants are fully vaccinated and also states a preference for outdoor provision or smaller group work where these are viable options. Consideration is also given to the prevailing public health profile in determining these provisions. This change appears to have been well received by the sector and I believe strikes the right balance between respecting critical public health needs and the welfare and wellbeing requirements of young people.
The Department has worked closely with key youth sector representatives to provide sector-specific guidance in line with the Government’s Resilience & Recovery 2020-2021: Plan for Living with COVID-19 and Reframing the Challenge: Continuing our Recovery and Reconnecting to ensure that young people continue to be supported in a manner consistent with evolving public health guidance and to address other issues arising in the sector as a result of Covid-19.
As we move beyond the pandemic, I am committed to continuing to support this important sector, which has enormous value to the many young people involved and from a broader social and economic viewpoint.