One of the key findings of a research report published by YouthNet on behalf of their Faith Based interest Group is that 68 per cent of youth groups registered with their local Education and Library Board in Northern Ireland are faith/church* based.
The report goes on to say that 74.4 per cent of all volunteer leaders in registered youth groups in Northern Ireland are volunteering in faith/church based groups.
YouthNet believes this piece of research marks a significant step forward in recognising the extent of faith/church based youth work in Northern Ireland and its positive contribution to social capital in local communities.
The report also recommends that the Interest Group should continue to work with YouthNet members and statutory youth work agencies to address the common issue of segregated provision in the context of developing a Shared Future in Northern Ireland.
YouthNet is the Voluntary Youth Network for Northern Ireland, an independent agency which represents the interests and aspirations of more than 75 youth organisations in Northern Ireland.
The report has been drawn up by the YouthNet Faith Based Interest Group that includes representatives from youth departments within the Church of Ireland, Methodist and Presbyterian churches and Youthcom, YMCA, Youth Link NI, Catholic Guides for Ireland, Boys Brigade and Youth Initiatives.
The Faith Based Interest Group acknowledges the role of YouthNet in securing resources to undertake and publish the research and facilitating the work of the interest group.
Full details of the report can be found on www.youthnetni.org.uk
*Church based may be a youth group meeting in or connected to a local church that does not define itself as faith based.