About Us

Youth Work Ireland is the largest youth organisation in Ireland. We are made up of 21 Local Member Youth Services and a national office. We support our members to deliver an Integrated Youth Services Model to young people in their communities. This means that young people around Ireland can avail of a whole range of services and supports if and when they need them.

We actively engage with over 116,000 young people every week - that is 20% of all young people in Ireland. Over the years we have developed highly innovative services, supports and programmes for young people between the ages of 10-25 years, including mental health supports, resilience building, anxiety programmes, drug and alcohol supports, LGBT+ youth work, club development, employability programmes, counselling services, rural out reach and fun safe spaces for young people to gather. 

Our Vision is of a world full of possibilities for all young people

Our beliefs...

We believe in local services led by local people
We believe that we are stronger working together
We always see the best in people
We trust each other
We value people’s opinions
We believe in the positive contribution of youth work
We value the contribution of all volunteers
We believe that we can and do change the world
We value leadership by young people
We value learning
We value voluntary participation
We believe in serious fun

We have an established network of over 150 projects and services and over 300 youth clubs across Ireland. On a weekly basis we actively engage with and support over 116,0600 young people, their families and the local communities. Youth Work Ireland is supported by 6721 trained and Garda Vetted volunteers.

Our Mission is "together with young people we learn tools for life, foster dreams, offer hope and realise our greatest expectations"

Our Integrated Youth Services Model

the model we use to deliver our services is a highly innovative process - our Intergrated Services Model. This is based on international best practice and ensures that volunteers and young people have access to a range of supports and services. Crucially this approach enables the delivery of tailored, targeted supports and responses in the local community and at the same time creating a portal to a range of supports which young people and volunteers can access through their local youth club, café, project or service. In short this means that regardless of where a young person is located, or what supports they need, they can access those supports in their local youth service. So our youth clubs, youth cafés, information centres and projects become a portal to an entire suite of supports and services for young people.

In order to do this we partner with strategic partner organisation with particular expertise, in order to offer young people a comprehensive support package. We are a not-for-profit organisation and are finanically supported by a range of statutory organisations to carry out this work.

Youth Participation

Young people are at the heart of our organisation, we work with and for young people. It has long been a vision of Youth Work Ireland to strengthen young people’s roles throughout the various structures of the federation and to facilitate real participation. Our approach to youth participation is not just about ensuring that young people are given opportunities to make decisions about their own lives, but also about our own work and about issues in society in general.  This means that Youth Work Ireland is an advocate for change which allow for greater and more meaningful youth participation in Irish society.

Globally, it is seen as a fundamental right of a child, to contribute to decisions that affect them (Article 12 of the UNCRC). Through our governance structure which give young people a seat at the table and a voice in decision making. We see the value of young people being involved in decision-making of the organisation on a national level. This guides us in line with national and international best practice standards and importantly provides an opportunity for Youth Work Ireland to lead the way in showing that young people can govern, can make important decisions and can successfully lead the largest youth work organisation in the country.

Outcomes of our Work:

Through our network of clubs, projects, drop in centres, youth information centres, youth cafés, music, arts, citizenship programmes and other outlets, we promote an open, integrated and accessible approach to working with young people. As a Federation of local youth services run by local people, we are uniquely placed to reach young people in their local communities around Ireland.  We work to develop the potential of these young people and to strengthen communities in Ireland through quality youth services.

Young people are at the heart of our organisation and are supported with excellent standards in volunteering, leaders and programme services. Many young people do not have a safe place to go where they can have a sense of belonging, when they can  have a positive relationship with adults and where people believe in them. We offer young people from all backgrounds a place to go, a listening ear and support if it's needed. The services are run by local people and the programmes are run based on the needs of the local community. Positive relationships between young people and adults ensure that young people thrive and are on the road to reaching their potential as well rounded adults.