Two local youth cafes are set to benefit from a funding package confirmed yesterday by the Government.
Ossory Youth Services in Graignamanagh and the Castlecomer Youth Cafe will receive €50,000 each. It’s part of an overall €1.5million allocation for 30 youth cafes in communities across Ireland, announced by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Frances Fitzgerald.
Local TD Ann Phelan, who lives in Graignamanagh, said she was delighted by the news.
“Currently, there is no dedicated facility for young people in Graig or Castlecomer. Members of each community have identified this as a facility that is in great need for the young people in their towns,” she said.
“Graiguenamanagh and Castlecomer are focal points for so many young people. The establishment of Youth Cafes in both towns provides a safe environment for young people to engage with one another through a variety of organised activities and programmes.”
The new funding brings the total investment in new youth cafés under the Government to €2.2 million since 2011. Youth participation and inclusion is at the core of the work carried out by Youth Cafes across the country.
“Youth Cafes have a proven track record of offering young people a safe, alcohol free environment to ‘hang out’,” said Deputy Phelan. “Often young people have a lack of communal space to meet with their peers, however, with the establishment of youth cafés, it provides a forum for young people to discuss issues of concern to them but also offering a fun environment for them to meet, instead of the street corner.”
Local Fine Gael TD John Paul Phelan has also welcomed the news. He said it would help finance safe and comfortable meeting places
for teens as well as a forum through which music and other talents can be showcased.
“Youth Cafes are an essential meeting place for young people,” he said.
“Not everyone is involved in sport and these cafes are not just a place for teens to meet. But they are also a great place where new friendships are formed and where teens from a variety of schools and backgrounds can meet.
The Fine Gael TD said he was also impressed at the innovative partnership approach taken by many youth services in developing youth cafes as dynamic local hubs offering information and services to young people on key youth issues from positive mental health to employment support.