First Online Irish Youth Chat Service Launched – Organisations Accelerate Initiative in Light of Current Crisis
Four leading Irish youth organisations have today formally launched a new unique online youth chat system called the Digital Youth Information Chat Service. The Youth Information Online chat service is the first of its kind in Ireland. Crosscare, SpunOut, YMCA and Youth Work Ireland who had long-planned this service have expedited the launch to support young people during Covid 19 lockdown. The Youth Information online chat service builds on a long standing partnership of professional Youth Information providers in Ireland and relies on the development of commitment to join up working on communications, safeguarding, data protection, and youth information practice. The service is staffed by professional Youth Information Workers.
The service will be available from 4pm to 8pm and is aimed at young people aged between 16 and 25. The service can help with any query a young person may have, such as information about grants, CAO applications, employment, housing, rights and entitlements, opportunities, information about the Covid-19 pandemic, news, or any other information they may need. The initiative has the support of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, and it is impartial, non-judgemental, reliable, and accurate.
In welcoming the launch of the Digital Youth Information Chat Service, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr. Katherine Zappone said, that “the launch of the chat line service today is particularly welcome at a time when young people are facing enormous challenges in all areas of their lives, particularly in matters of mental health, but are also harnessing their talents and capabilities to play a crucial role in the societal response to the current Covid-19 crisis. I would like to commend the Youth Information Partnership for working together nationally to provide information for young people on a dedicated online facility. Any initiative which seeks to support young people in maintaining their health and wellbeing is particularly welcome now and into the future.”
Gareth Gibson, Youth Information Manager at Donegal Youth Service said: “Providing quality youth information has long been a priority for Donegal Youth Service, and the key youth information providers across Ireland. The roll out of our national youth information web chat service is a hugely progressive and innovative step forward which I firmly believe will be of benefit to the young people of Ireland ensuring extended operating hours for any young person to access a comprehensive suite of information channels and liaise with a professional information provider regardless of location.”
This new service is a natural extension of what youth information workers do day to day but enhances this work by recognising both the importance of the online lives that young people lead and of course the current period which presents huge challenges for young people. A chat service where young people can move seamlessly to personalised trusted adult professional support is a hugely important offer in young people’s lives. This initiative also will provide extended hours of service through coordinating staff-time on an all-Ireland rota and information in a format that is appropriate to the information seeking habits of young people.
In an era of false news and confusion online Youth Information Service partners bring expertise to this work by providing quality youth information to young people. It will provide youth information to young people who can’t easily access physical Youth Information Centres. It will respond to young people’s needs and aspirations by jointly creating data analytics that describe and predict trends of young people’s query topics. It is also particularly helpful with large numbers of young people out of school at the moment.
For more information about Donegal Youth Service’s supports and services during the Covid-19 Pandemic please visit www.donegalyouthservice.ie or find Donegal Youth Service on Instagram or Facebook. Donegal Youth Service is a registered charity. Registered Irish Charity Number: 20050696