2020: A Year Like No Other for Donegal Youth Service
2020 was a year like no other for Donegal Youth Service and the young people we work with. The year started off on a high, and was on track to be the busiest year ever for the service. By March the team had to respond quickly and move everything online to provide a service that continued to be both meaningful and relevant to the young people we work with during a global crisis. This offer included online programmes, one to one support, care packages, and meals for young people and their families.
Young people faced many challenges throughout the year with the Covid-19 Pandemic, and lockdowns having a significant impact on their mental health. This led to a high demand for our ‘Youth Talk Donegal’ listening ear support service, with many young people seeking support from across the county. A total of 2589 one to one sessions were provided to young people, with a further 3781 shorter support sessions taking place from April to December. During this time DYS staff also responded to 91 emergency situations for young people in crisis.
The service adapted throughout the year depending on the different levels of Government restrictions at the time. Face to face work took place with covid safety protocols at the forefront ensuring a safe environment for everyone. Young people and staff alike appreciated the opportunity to get back to face to face work.
DYS Regional Director Lorraine Thompson said: “COVID19 posed so many challenges for the staff, volunteers and young people within Donegal Youth Service. We responded to these challenges as best we could by transferring most of our service on-line and continuing to be there to engage and support young people. We are satisfied that we as an organisation went the extra mile in the delivery of services to young people whilst simultaneously recognising the unprecedented situation that we are still grappling with.”
One of the many highlights from 2020 was a transatlantic youth writing workshop. Normally the doors to the Donegal Youth Service building would be opened to the public for Culture Night but like everything else things were a little bit different in 2020. Instead young people from Donegal Youth Service, Kids Own and Young Chicago Authors took part in a poetry workshop over Zoom centred on themes of identity and home and explored the youth experience and culture of growing up in Chicago and Donegal.
Some of the other highlights were: the launch of the national YIChat information service, the Youthscape Project podcast run by staff and young people, and our newest project ‘OUR Generation’ was launched in January, and despite the challenges of lockdown the team still worked with 700 participants throughout the year.
DYS Year in Numbers: In 2020 Donegal Youth Service engaged a total of 7895 young people through our projects and youth clubs. There were 25 youth clubs and projects which were supported by 404 adult volunteers. It was still a busy year for training as 496 adults and 4251 young people received various training programmes throughout the year both online and offline. A total of 7 events took place throughout the year, and Donegal Youth Service had 100 strategic partnerships in 2020.
Read the full Annual Report below
For more information about any Donegal Youth Service programmes and supports please visit www.donegalyouthservice.ie, or find DYS on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Donegal Youth Service is a registered charity. Registered charity number: 20050696.