‘Youth Voices’ Launch by Minister Roderic O’Gorman TD

Sphere 17 Regional Youth Service (RYS) welcomed Minister Roderic O Gorman TD (Dept of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth) to launch their Youth Voices video, highlighting the experiences of young people living locally in direct provision.  

Sphere 17 RYS were honoured to welcome Minister Roderic O Gorman TD to the Sphere 17 Regional Youth Facility, Darndale to launch their Youth Voices video – a four-minute graphic animation video reflecting the lived experience of young people living in direct provision, told in their own words.

Prior to the video launch, the Minister met with other young people and staff involved in various youth service projects and activities, emphasising the diverse range, and collaborative nature, of the supports and services provided by Sphere RYS and their partners across the region.

Other work on show included:

Climate Justice youth programme work including some recent water testing activity by young people in Dublin Bay in conjunction with the NYCI (National Youth Council of Ireland)

The Out’N’About Detached Youth Service which works with young people out on the local streets.

The Listen Project – a community-based youth counselling service which last year provided more than 730 counselling sessions to over 200 young people in local schools and youth centre venues across Dublin 5, 7, 13, and 17.

The LGBTQ+ youth group who are supporting their youth service on the journey to Rainbow Award achievement.

Minister O Gorman was greeted by 2 members of the Young Communicators Committee on arrival, who also serve as Youth Directors on the Sphere 17 RYS Board of Management.

Mick Ferron – Sphere 17 Regional Youth Service Manager thanked Minister O’Gorman for his visit, and he paid tribute to local young people and the committed staff who support them:

One of the great things about youth work is that it can support very different young people in many different ways – individually or in groups. There’s so much going on, but the central focus for youth workers is the young person, and what’s important to them. A key part of our work is supporting young people to find their voice, and we take enormous pride in seeing them use that voice to bring about positive change. We are particularly thankful to Cllr. Dearbhail Butler for allowing us the opportunity to showcase our work to our funding Minister.” 

Mr Ferron also expressed concern about the capacity of Sphere 17 and the wider youth sector to continue to meet the growing demands of young people:

Our youth service, like many others, continues to develop and innovate in response to the increased demands for service, and the increasingly complex needs and challenges for young people in our communities. Worryingly, we are now also struggling to cope with cost increases that are outstripping funding allocations, and are directly impacting service provision at a time when we can least afford it. Youth work has demonstrated its unique capacity to reach even the most marginalised and vulnerable young people – particularly here in Dublin. It is so important that the invaluable social capital, hard earned over many years, is not allowed to be eroded by overheads in the short-term.” 

Speaking about the value of youth service provision in our communities, Cllr. Dearbhail Butler said:

After experiencing the vast showcase of work on display here this afternoon, I would just like to commend Sphere 17 on the innovative and creative ways they are engaging young people in informal education in our community.  As a Councillor, I am very keen to highlight, promote, and support the Arts and this Youth Voices video is a particularly moving and powerful piece which hopefully can be used as a tool to share experience and create positive awareness around the importance of diversity, inclusion, and integration as our communities continue to evolve.” 

Reflecting on his visit to Sphere 17, Minister O Gorman said:

I’m delighted to have been invited to Sphere 17 to see first-hand the impactful work they do with young people across Dublin. During my visit,  Sphere 17 showcased the range of initiatives underway – from action on climate justice to the provision of counselling sessions to over 200 young people. It’s hugely impressive, and very encouraging to see the positive impact Sphere 17 is making across Dublin.”

The visit concluded with photo opportunities and the Minister was thanked for taking time out of his busy schedule to see first-hand the variety of youth service programmes and activities available.

You can view our Youth Voices video here

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