BreakOut Programme at Donegal Youth Service Achieves National Accreditation

Donegal Youth Service’s ‘BreakOut’ programme for LGBTI young people, their friends and allies has just achieved National Accreditation from ‘Belong To’ for the second time. Accreditation is the BeLonG To seal of approval for LGBTI+ youth groups that are part of their National Network.

Moninne Griffith, CEO of BeLonG To Youth Services, said: “Receiving accreditation recognises the wonderful work BreakOut are doing. We are thrilled to offer them the BeLonG To seal of approval and commend their commitment to supporting LGBTI+ young people in Donegal. Local LGBTI+ youth groups provide a safe space for LGBTI+ young people to develop friendships, get support, and belong close to home. With LGBTI+ young people experiencing three times the level of suicide and two times to level of self-harm compared to their non-LGBTI+ friends, a support like the BreakOut LGBT+ youth project is a lifeline.”

DYS Regional Director Lorraine Thompson said “The BreakOut project continues to grow and develop since its inception and is proactive in addressing the changing needs of LGBTI young people in Donegal.  We are delighted to receive accreditation from BelongTo for the second time as recognition of the quality service to young people.”

Speaking at the event Youth Worker Karen Conlon spoke about the importance of BreakOut “While we have made many strides for equality in Ireland and Donegal the LGBTI+ community still faces discrimination, as was highlighted in Belong To’s recent School Climate Survey, 2019. With young people speaking of their fear of coming out, being bullied and not being accepted by family and friends, the BreakOut group offers them a safe space to be themselves and to receive support from their peers.”

To achieve accreditation, a youth group must follow these five core principles:

1. Young person-centered: recognise that young people are central to the work and that their rights are paramount.

2. Safety and well-being: ensure and promote safety and well-being. Recognise that the well-being and safety of youth is always safe guarded.

3. Education and personal development: recognise that activities must advance the personal development and education of young people.

4. Equality, diversity and inclusiveness: recognise that safe learning environments are open and accessible to all young people.

5. Quality and improvement: demonstrate a commitment to quality youth work and continuous improvement, recognising an organisation’s shared commitment to provide and improve quality youth work and deliver high standards of services to young people.

For more information about BreakOut, please contact Donegal Youth Service on 074 91 29630, or email karen.conlon@donegalyouthservice.ie. There are two BreakOut groups in Letterkenny which support young people aged 12-30, there is also currently a BreakOut group operating in Glenties. Remember you don’t have to be ‘out’ to attend BreakOut. BreakOut is funded by HSE, BelongTo, Healthy Ireland and the Department of Children & Youth Affairs.

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For any press enquiries please contact layla.kuyper@donegalyouthservice.ie

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