500 signatures reached
To: Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Minister for Education, Minister for Health
Rathangan S.O.S. Save Our Services
Reinstate funding for youth services in Rathangan, Co. Kildare
Why is this important?
Scooters Youth Club calls for reinstatement of services in Rathangan
“There is not enough people harming themselves, is that why they took away the services? Do more people have to die in order for us to get services in Rathangan?”
Evan Dowling, junior leader, Scooters Youth Club
Young people of Rathangan are outraged after hearing the news that the funding for both the local youth counselling service and the youth worker are being cut by the HSE. A group of young people currently volunteering as junior leaders in Scooters Youth Club Rathangan have come together to express concerns for themselves, their peers and the next generation of young people after it has been confirmed that the HSE will no longer fund youth services in the area. The part time positions of both the counsellor and youth worker will cease by the end of April after almost three years. The positions, originally funded on a six monthly basis following a large number of suicides in a short period of time in the area have been renewed several times in the past, however the HSE have confirmed that the funding will cease at the end of the current contracts.
We are asking people who are interested in getting involved in our campaign to follow our progress on social media on Snapchat Twitter Rathangan S.O.S and Facebook Rathangan S.O.S to support our Uplift campaign. Local TD’s, councillors and other stakeholders are currently being contacted to meet with the group of young people to discuss the impact of losing the services in the area and to devise a possible action plan. Strategies and possible solutions have been identified by the group such as; HSE selling their empty properties in Rathangan in order to fund the services, or the possibility of a mobile counsellor which services other areas as well as Rathangan.
The loss of the youth worker now means that the youth café in the newly refurbished community centre will only open four hours per week compared to the current twenty three hours of use. Lisa Ennis a volunteer in Scooters Youth Club said; “The Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs published a best practice guide for Youth Café’s in Ireland which clearly states that ‘the work within a youth café needs to be supported by trained professionals, such as youth workers’, it is not good enough for the state to provide us with funding for a space and take away funding for a youth worker to run it, nor is it good enough for our counselling service to be taken away with no alternative put in place. We feel as if we are being abandoned by the state after a plaster was put over the issue, but if we do not address the roots of access to transport and services, unemployment, inequality, isolation and poverty in our village the issues will arise again”. Evan Dowling a junior leader in Scooters Youth Club said; “There is not enough people harming themselves, is that why they took away the services? Do more people have to die in order for us to get services in Rathangan?”
Unfortunately the issues faced by the young people of Rathangan are a common feature in Ireland today and in particular in rural Ireland, although funding for youth services was increased by 2.5% in last year’s budget the youth sector has seen an overall cut of 28.5% since 2008. Additionally access to transport and rural isolation remains a national issue with rural isolation being a reoccurring theme in the government’s new Action Plan for Rural Development. The government need to invest more in areas such as Rathangan in order to create happier and more sustainable communities.