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February 04, 2008

Kildare Youth Services launches Five Year Strategic Plan

KYS officially launched their 5 Year Strategic Plan in their Canal Stores Office in Naas on Friday 25th January. The launch was very well attended by National, Regional and Local political representatives from the area as well as many statutory and community representatives from different parts of the county.

The strategic plan will provide a roadmap for KYS as a voluntary organisation for the next five years as it continues to develop accessible, quality services for children, young people and their families in all areas of Co. Kildare.

The plan was officially launched by Mr. Sean Ashe, CEO of Kildare Vocational Education Committee. In addressing those present, he congratulated KYS on what he felt was a most comprehensive and detailed document.  Mr. Ashe commended KYS for their quality work with young people in clubs and groups right across the county.  He reaffirmed the need for a non formal educational approach, provided by Youth Services, based in the community, which complements formal education. “We are lucky to have KYS in Kildare” he said. Mr. Ashe went on to point out that in his many years experience of working with young people in education and other areas he still held fast to his fundamental belief that all young people are good citizens and have a lot to offer their communities.  In cases where young people experience difficulties both in their education and in their personal lives he said, “If you are dedicated enough with the right supports and resources behind you, then everyone one of us can help turn a corner and even more so watch young people turn a corner for themselves”. In terms of facilities Mr. Ashe pointed out that it is unfortunate to see in some areas of Kildare young people and families having to leave the county in order to access second level education.

Ms. Joan O’Flynn, consultant, gave a detailed presentation on the process she developed with all the stakeholders to shape the plan.  This she outlined involved several consultation meetings with Young People, Volunteers, KYS Board Members, Statutory and Community Agencies and Groups. She said that within the plan there is scope to allow for flexibility in addressing local communities needs whilst also providing for clear measurable outcomes for all participants using KYS. She went on to explain that KYS now has eight guiding principles which over arch its work at all levels and these will be upheld by the five strategic objectives which provide more detail on what KYS hopes to achieve and help young people to achieve over the next five years.

Mr. Traolach Shortt, spoke on behalf KYS Board of Directors he outlined the importance of having direction and a vision. He said “There is a strong focus on voluntary services in KYS- youth clubs, steering and management voluntary committees.  We will continue to
focus on young people being supported to be active critical citizens through youth work, counselling and family work”

Traolach then emphasised the need to work together as agencies in order to achieve an overall positive social change or outcome for all young people in our county. He said “so that our quality work in Kildare can be duplicated and used to the benefit of young people right across Ireland”

Finally Liz O’Sullivan, Regional Director KYS thanked those in attendances for supporting KYS and in particular Mr. Ashe. Ms. O’Sullivan said she looked forward to continue to work in partnership with the VEC’s, especially in relation to the new areas of responsibilities under the Youth Work Act.

Ms. O’Sullivan went on to outline that the needs of young people are very similar to times gone by, but there are many differences in the social environment in Co. Kildare that young people experience today. The majority of young people in Kildare both in the past and today have nowhere to go that they can just hang out, socialise with their friends, develop new skills outside of a school setting.  There are just two dedicated youth facilities at the moment in the county- Curragh and Leixlip. “Two facilities to serve one of the most densely populated area of young people in the country”. She also said, “What kind of message are we sending out to young people if we do not provide them with dedicated youth facilities in their local area?” She said “KYS cannot do it alone- we need help.”  She called on the Public representatives, the County Council, the VEC and other stakeholders to work in partnership with KYS to ensure that we together provide quality youth facilities in towns right across the county.  “Young people need and deserve quality safe spaces, supervised facilities and professional youth services more than ever before” Liz said.

Finally Ms. O’Sullivan went on to say that the next five years will be very exciting for the organisation and those it works with, “with the agencies and groups we work with there is huge potential to influence developments in favour of young people and their families in Kildare, we look forward to working even closer together to ensure that we bring about positive change for all young people in Co. Kildare.


L to R Joan O’ Flynn Consultant, Liz O’ Sullivan KYS Regional Director, Sean Ashe CEO VEC, Diarmuid Kearney Chief Executive with Youth Work Ireland