Donegal Youth Service engaged a total of 11,418 young people through projects and youth clubs during a challenging year in 2021.
The Donegal Youth Service Annual Report shares how the service continued to help young people with coping skills and mental health during the pandemic.
Due to restrictions, DYS staff used a variety of methodologies and youth work approaches to support and engage young people.
The effect of Covid-19 on normal life for children and young people continued to intensify in 2021, it has widely been reported that the pandemic affected this age group more than any other and we have seen first-hand the huge impact on their coping skills and mental health. The lack of opportunity to attend school, to socialise with their peers, to attend significant life events and the continuous stop-start nature of restrictions has left many children and young people struggling with these changes.
The continuance of unprecedented circumstances laid a backdrop of additional challenges but DYS continued to deliver as full a service as possible whilst adhering to restriction guidelines.
At the recent DYS AGM, Regional Director Lorraine Thompson outlined the full overview of service delivery in 2021.
DYS Year in Numbers: In 2021 Donegal Youth Service engaged a total of 11418 young people through our projects and youth clubs. There were 25 youth clubs and projects which were supported by 338 adult volunteers. It was still a busy year for training as 493 adults and 4280 young people received various training programmes throughout the year both online and offline. A total of 20 events took place throughout the year, and Donegal Youth Service had 53 strategic partnerships in 2021.
This services provided included; online programmes and one to one support during periods of restriction, outdoor engagement when guidelines permitted, small group delivery when restrictions eased and drop-in provision with COVID safety protocols at the forefront ensuring a safe environment for everyone. Young people and staff alike appreciated the opportunity to get back to face to face work.
DYS Regional Director Lorraine Thompson stated: “COVID19 continued to pose so many challenges for the staff, volunteers and young people within Donegal Youth Service. We continued to be there to engage and support young people. We recognise that on-line delivery is no substitute for face to face engagement and continue to respond to these challenges as best we can.”
It is important to note however that a major casualty of the pandemic has been volunteer led Youth Clubs who have unanimously stated that COVID19 has impacted on their ability to provide services to young people, it has financially impacted on their ability to reopen when restrictions eased and they are very concerned about their ability to re-engage volunteers.
To this end Donegal Youth Service Board, led by the Chairperson Frank Dooley, spearheaded a national campaign in 2021 to lobby the government for additional resources and supports to help youth clubs to re-open. This campaign was supported nationally by Youth Work Ireland and locally by Donegal ETB.
To read the full Annual Report please visit: https://www.donegalyouthservice.ie/what-we-do/annual-reports
For more information about any Donegal Youth Service programmes and supports please visit www.donegalyouthservice.ie, or find DYS on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Donegal Youth Service is a registered charity. Registered charity number: 20050696.