Update on resumption of youth services April 8th 2021

Update on resumption of youth services April 8th 2021

Update on resumption of youth services. April 8th 2021

Date published: 08 April 2021

Education Minister Peter Weir has confirmed the further reopening of some youth services in response to the recent unrest on our streets.

Update on resumption of youth services

This will apply to those youth services which operate in areas of heightened community tensions.

Peter Weir said: “Youth services play a vital role in supporting young people throughout Northern Ireland.

 “As a society we should all be appalled at witnessing young people and even children being involved in the recent violence on our streets.

“At this time it is even more important that youth services are able to meet the needs of young people in these areas.”

It has been agreed that all youth centres and provisions which operate in areas where there is heightened community tensions can maximise the use of their facilities and services with immediate effect.

This includes the provision of educational visits and residential provision (overnight stays) when there is significant risk of harm or criminalisation of children and young people.

The Minister said: “These measures are intended to safeguard and ensure the welfare of our young people and to divert them from becoming involved in risk taking and dangerous behaviours.

“I want to commend the Education Authority’s Youth Service and all youth workers for their commitment to helping our young people in these very difficult times.”

Notes to editors: 

  1. Guidance for youth settings is available at: www.youthonline.org.uk/restart(external link opens in a new window / tab))
  2. All youth centres and provisions (statutory and voluntary funded through Local Area/Project Based Funding; TPP funding) who operate in areas where there is heightened community tensions can maximise the use of their facilities and services with immediate effect to meet the needs of local children and young people·        
  3. An online form will be available from Friday 9 April 2021 on www.eanifunding.org.uk(external link opens in a new window / tab) to approve education visits including overnight stays for the statutory and voluntary sector providers funded under local area, local project and TPP funding.
  4. Planning should commence for all generic provision for the summer period (July/August); however further steps of approval will be necessary to move to the next phase.
  5. Planning for the summer (July/august) for areas where there are heightened community tensions can progress with approval from EA to ensure the welfare and child safeguarding of children and young people to divert them from risk taking behaviours 
  6. For areas NOT impacted by heightened community tensions; regulations remain the same.

Weir welcomes reopening of Sure Start and youth services

Weir welcomes reopening of Sure Start and youth services

Date published: 25 March 2021

Education Minister Peter Weir has welcomed the phased return of Sure Start and youth services.

Update on Youth and Early Years

The Executive has given approval for initial steps to be taken in resuming some early years programmes, including Sure Start, and youth services allowing the gradual re-opening of programmes to support children and young people who may be facing disadvantage.

Welcoming the Executive’s decision today, the Minister said:

“The COVID pandemic has created many pressures on families and it is clear that these pressures are having greatest impact where disadvantage already exists.  I have therefore been focussed on the reopening of vital programmes such as Sure Start and the Pathway Fund which provide much needed support to children.

“The restart of services must, of course, be balanced with the risk of transmitting the COVID virus.  Therefore, services will initially be open where children only are attending.  We will, of course, seek to reopen all services, as soon as it is safe to do so.”

Turning to the provision of youth services, the Minister continued:

“There is no doubt that the current restrictions are having a negative impact on many young people. Issues such as growing mental health problems, increased drug taking and anti-social behaviour are of great concern.

“My proposal is to take the first steps in a phased and carefully managed reopening of youth services.”

The Minister concluded:

“It will be for the Executive as a whole to consider any further phased re-opening of these areas as part of the ongoing review of restrictions.”

Notes to editors: 

1. The first step to a phased return of generic youth work will involve both statutory and voluntary youth work settings operating in line with any overarching restrictions permitted within educational settings relating to outdoor or indoor gatherings, group sizes, social distancing, face coverings and hand washing. 

2. In addition to detached (working where young people choose to congregate) and outreach youth work (engages young people with a view to support them in youth work centres) will recommence.

3. The Education Authority is leading on Youth Restart and will be publishing more details for youth work providers on its Youth Online platform (www.youthonline.org.uk(external link opens in a new window / tab) )

4. Follow us on Twitter @Education_NI and our Facebook page, Department of Education Northern Ireland.

5. Media enquiries to the Department of Education Press Office at: Press.Office@education-ni.gov.uk

6. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

VCSE COVID Recovery Fund reopening for applications January 2021

The Department for Communities are reopening the Voluntary, Community and Social Economy (VCSE) COVID Recovery Fund for applications on 18 January 2021.

The scheme which closed on 11 December 2020, will reopen for applications under Theme 3 of the Fund (Future PPE and Sundry Equipment needs) for a period of two weeks from 18 January 2021 to 29 January 2021.

Importantly to help ensure that VCSE organisations have the PPE required to continue service delivery, the maximum award from this part of the Fund which was previously capped at £2,000, will rise to £5,000. Organisations who were previously successful in applying to this element of the fund can reapply to receive up to £5k (e.g. if an organisation was awarded £2k from the 1st round of applications, they can apply for a further £3k).

This opportunity for groups to make new or additional applications will help provide the Sector with the opportunity to plan ahead and ensure their premises are ready to deliver services as soon as Covid restrictions are relaxed.

As before, the Fund will be distributed by Co-operation Ireland in partnership with Rural Community Network.

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