Youth work survey shows 26,000 involved weekly

Thursday June 4th 2009

An all-Ireland survey commissioned by the Church of Ireland Youth Department (CIYD) is to be launched by the Bishop of Connor on June 10.

The Bishop, the Rt Rev Alan Abernethy, is President of the Youth Department, and the launch will take place at Parliament Buildings, Stormont. Representatives from the youth sector will attend.

The report will also be launched at Church House, Dublin on June 19 by Barry Andrews, TD, Minister of State for Children and Youth Affairs and the Most Rev Alan Harper, OBE, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland.

The independent survey, An Audit Report of Youth Work in the Church of Ireland, reveals a number of striking findings relating to engagement of young people aged between 11 and 25 with the Church.

Significantly, the survey finds:
• That there are approximately 26,000 young people aged between 11 and 25-years-old active in the Church of Ireland’s youth work per week;
• That this work is supported by over 3,000 adult volunteers; and
• That the work encompasses a range of youth initiatives, from work with immigrant young people to the organisation of youth clubs, and from running Silver Bands to undertaking faith development programmes.

David Gardiner of DSG Consultancy, which conducted the survey, said: “By commissioning this, the most extensive survey of Youth Work ever undertaken in the Church of Ireland, CIYD is demonstrating its commitment to the strategic support of youth workers and youth work across the entire Church, and to accurate reporting to stakeholders.

“With at least 3,300 volunteers providing parish-based youth work for up to 26,000 young people every week, the Church is making a substantial contribution to Irish society. With a further 17,500 young people engaged annually at a diocesan level, the impact and reach of Church of Ireland youth work is nothing less than impressive.”

Bishop Abernethy stated: “This is an exciting moment for the Youth Department and for the Church of Ireland. It will enable us to map out our future strategically in this important area.’

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