I propose to take Questions Nos. 180, 181 and 184 together.
I am pleased to confirm that an extra €1.5m has been allocated in current funding to support the provision of youth services in 2018. This will bring the total current youth funding available to my Department to €58.9m. The additional funding is being used for programmes that target disadvantaged young people.
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.
These schemes include the Youth Service Grant Scheme, under which funding is made available on an annual basis to thirty national and major regional youth 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.
Targeted supports for disadvantaged, marginalised and at risk young people are provided through the Special Projects for Youth Scheme, the Young Peoples Facilities and Services Fund, Rounds 1 and 2, Local Drugs Task Force Projects and certain other programmes including the Local Youth Club Grant Scheme and Youth Information Centres.
The Local Youth Club Grant Scheme supports youth work activities at a local level. These grants are made available to all youth clubs and groups through the local Education and Training Boards. Each year, in the region of 1700 local youth clubs are eligible to apply under the scheme.
As the Deputy may be aware my Department is 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.
Last year each of the sixteen Education and Training Boards (ETB), was invited to nominate locations within their catchment areas for the establishment of new services and to nominate a project or service to be considered for augmentation. In total twenty-eight applications for new services were received. Subsequently I approved the establishment of ten new targeted youth services across the country and the expansion of a further seven to respond to new demand from increased population and needs of young people. Funding was also allocated for the establishment of 5 new sample projects in 2016. These projects provide youth services in areas of need as identified by the Education and Training Boards with responsibility for those regions.
Future development and investment in youth services will be informed by the mapping exercise completed last year which mapped youth service provision across the State. This mapping will assist the Department and the relevant ETB 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 need and explore ways to address this need where it emerges.
My Department works closely with, and regularly meets, the national and major regional youth organisations, including the National Youth Council of Ireland, which has a representative role for the voluntary youth services.