Thursday, 28 March 2019

Ceisteanna (13)

Thomas Byrne


13. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs if funding for youth activities and affairs in County Meath will be increased. [14449/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Children)

I am aware that there are a number of areas of the country where the youth population has grown to a significant extent without a corresponding growth in the level of targeted youth service provision.

Meath is one such area. In order to address this my Department undertook, along with the Education and Training Boards, a mapping exercise with Pobal of all youth service provision in the country in 2017.

This year, the Education and Training Boards are building on the knowledge gained in 2017 by carrying out a full area profile, needs assessment and service requirement for each of their areas. This process is to help the ETBs identify the specific needs of young people in their areas and the services required to meet those needs.

Ten of the ETBs will be focussing on already existing youth service provision in this exercise. The remaining six ETBs, including Louth Meath ETB, have been asked to also identify, through this exercise, areas where new service development is required. This is because these 6 ETBs have had no recent new youth services established in their areas.

I expect this to be completed by the end of May. My Department is committed to working with Louth Meath Education and Training Board to explore ways to address emerging needs.

My Department administers a range of funding schemes and programmes to support the provision of youth services to young people throughout the country. This includes those from disadvantaged communities. The youth funding provided by my Department was €58.9m in 2018.

Budget 2019 provided an additional €1.5m in current funding to my Department to support the provision of youth services which will be used, primarily, for programmes that target disadvantaged young people. This will include investing in new service provision where need is proven. I have asked for a sum of €30k to be set aside for each of the six ETBs, including Louth Meath ETB. This will support the cost of a quarter year of a youth service provision.

My Department is currently finalising the 2019 funding allocations for the youth projects and youth services throughout the country. Every effort is being made to complete this process as soon as possible and allocations will be notified to projects in the near future.

The funding allocation for the targeted youth projects and services in County Meath amounted to €152,854 in 2018.

The Local Youth Club Grant Scheme supports youth work activities at a local level. In 2019, I provided an additional 12% in overall funding for this scheme, bringing the total allocation to over €2m. This includes an allocation of €131,735 for Louth Meath Education and Training Board.

My Department is currently finalising details for a Local Youth Club Equipment Scheme for voluntary clubs/groups and a small capital scheme for staff led youth services to be launched in 2019. The full details of the application criteria for these schemes and the funding allocation provided to Louth Meath ETB will be announced in the near future.