About Us

Kildare Youth Services was founded in the early 1970’s by volunteer youth leaders concerned with the development of youth club support services throughout County Kildare. Originally known as Kildare Federation of Youth Clubs, the name changed to Kildare Youth Services in 1986 marking a broadening of the work of the organisation to include community based youth projects.

1989 was a landmark year for KYS with the acquisition of the Canal Stores premises in Naas and the introduction of new funding for disadvantaged youth projects. Throughout the 1990’s the organisation expanded and developed to include the establishment of further Community Youth Projects, a Youth Information Service, the Youth Counselling Service and various special projects targeting early school leavers and other special interest groups. In 1999 the Naas Child & Family Support Project was initiated in partnership with the South Western Area Health Board. 2001 to 2006 saw the establishment of further projects across the region and the development of a real integrated service across the county for young people, children & families. 

2007 to 2015 was a difficult time for the community & voluntary sector in general and for the youth sector in particular. The economic crisis at that time meant it was period for KYS to consolidate and maintain the services we had as best we could. Certainly some small scale projects were lost and others contracted as funding was reduced by up to 32%, but we managed to maintain services to most communities through this period.

Indeed, in 2013/2014, we were able to further develop our integrated service model when we brought both the HALO Project and The FAIM project into the fold in partnership with the SWRDATF and TUSLA. In 2016, we partnered with KWETB to provide a new and innovative youth project in West Wicklow.  

Kildare Youth Services is a partnership of young people, volunteers and staff working together to respond to the emerging and changing needs of young people, their families and communities. Together with a wide range of community and statutory agencies, Kildare Youth Services is committed to the development of comprehensive youth, child and family services throughout County Kildare and West Wicklow.

Kildare Youth Services is one of 21 locally-based services who are affiliated to Youth Work Ireland, which is a federation of independent local services across the country who work together to lobby, advocate and represent the voice of young people and families at a national level.

Kildare Youth Services is now responsible for a range of community-based projects that work with young people, children & families across County Kildare and West Wicklow. KYS manages 18 individual projects through an integrated service model. They include:
  • Seven community-based youth projects who work with young people and volunteers in targeted communities in Kildare Town, Athy, The Curragh, Newbridge, Leixlip, Naas (incorporating Clane), and most recently in West Wicklow (Blessington, Baltinglass, and Dunlavin.
  • Two Garda Youth Diversion Projects in Celbridge and the Curragh/Newbridge
  • A Youth Information Service based in Naas, but serving the whole of County Kildare
  • A weekly Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender drop-in space (KLGBT+)
  • Co. Kildare Comhairle na nÓg
  • Five therapeutic projects:
    • Naas Child & Family Project working with children & families in need in the Naas area;
    • Youth Counselling Service, working with young people and families across the County in centres in Naas; Leixlip; Celbridge; Newbridge; Kildare Town, Rathangan & Athy;
    • The HALO Project, working with 12 to 18 yr. olds in relation to their substance misuse across Kildare & West Wicklow.
    • The FAIM (Family assessment & Intervention Model) Project working with children & families in need of assessment and intervention in Kildare & West Wicklow; and
    • EOLAS, a unique and innovative mental health information and support programme for people with and in recovery from schizophrenia spectrum and bipolar disorders, their families and close friends, operating in a variety of locations across the country.
    • A Community Employment Scheme whereby KYS supports up to 30 people to re-engage in the workplace in a variety of roles, predominantly youth work assistants but also administration, finance, caretaking, maintenance etc., and
    • 18 volunteer-led youth clubs across Kildare and West Wicklow


Our Community

The Kildare Youth Services community is more than just the geographic locations outlined above. Our community is primarily made up of the young people, children & families who engage with our services and the young people & volunteers who participate in and contribute to the delivery of our services.

Upwards of 1500 young people are engaged in the projects and services directly provided by KYS.

In addition, approximately 210 club volunteers, with support from KYS, operate 18 local youth clubs in their own communities, providing a service to more than 950 young people.


Our Staff Team

In order to deliver the range of projects and services that we provide, KYS employs 49 staff on a full-time & part-time basis, as well as up to an additional 30 Community Employment staff. This team is bolstered by more than 50 project volunteers who give freely of their time to support the work we do. We have a diverse, professional and motivated team from a variety of backgrounds who are all focused on meeting the needs of young people, children & families in Kildare and on achieving our objectives set out in this plan.

We work within an integrated multi-disciplinary area-based model where our aim is to provide the most effective service to the people we work with at the time and in the location they require our support. We strive to find innovative and creative ways to maximise the resources we have for the benefit of the young people, children and families that we work with.

 

Our Board of Directors

Kildare Youth Services is a limited company and the voluntary Board of Directors provides governance, leadership and direction to the organisation. The Board is made up of volunteers from within the clubs and projects who are nominated and elected in accordance with our agreed procedures. The current Board of Directors are:

Pat Balfe  (Chairperson)                        Monasterevin Youth Action

Caoimhe O’Callaghan (Secretary)        HALO Project

Jennifer Pucka (Treasurer)                    Co-opted (originally Monasterevin Youth Club)

Lisa Ennis                                              Scooters Youth Club

Debbie O’Rourke                                   Co-opted (originally Scooters Youth Club)

Seamus Carey                                       Teen Spirit, Prosperous

Pat Corcoran                                          Naas Club 4U

Miriam Farrell                                         Monasterevin Youth Action

Avis O'Donovan                                     Clane Youth Club

 

Our Approach

We are leaders in the field of youth work & family service provision in County Kildare. Many of our partners look to us for our expertise in working closely with young people, children and families. 

We work collaboratively with our partners to provide solutions to the needs of young people, children & families. 

Within the one organisation we offer a multi-disciplinary approach, using an integrated service model that supports individuals and groups in a variety of ways depending on their need. 

We are innovative and creative in our practice. Kildare Youth Services has a long history of practice development within the sector. 

We strive to be an organisation that is approachable and makes a positive contribution to the sector locally, regionally and nationally. Where possible we will show flexibility in our approach to inter-agency work. 

We are accessible to large parts of the community across Kildare. We have a variety of services in all the major population centres throughout the county. 

We recognise that there are gaps in our service in the region, as there are with all services across Kildare. In fact many of these gaps are mirrored across all service providers. We commit to work with our partners to bring additional resources into those areas that have been neglected up to now.

 

What Guides Us?

 Our Values

 We value:

     Social Justice

     Ethical practice

     Voluntary participation

     Equality

     Diversity

     Collaboration

     Advocacy

     Respect

     Empowerment

 

Our Commitments

     Young people, children & families are at the centre of all that we do.

     We work with rather than for young people, children & families.

    We believe in the capacity of young people, children & families to know what they need and to be able to articulate those                 needs.

     All people have their own strengths to bring to bear in meeting their needs.

     All people can change and improve their own circumstances with the right support at the right time.

    We believe that by working with individuals and groups within the context of their family and community together we can                   change society.

     All work must be evidence-based, outcome driven but strengths-led

 

The Environment We Work Within

Kildare Youth Services is operating within an environment that is placing ever increasing demands on our services. Many of the therapeutic services we offer have to find creative solutions to manage growing waiting lists. Many of the cases presenting to our services have significantly more complex needs than previously. Between 2007 and 2015 we have been in a cycle of continually reducing funding, which has led to significantly reduced services. In that time funding to youth work projects has been cut by more than 30%, the cut to TUSLA funded projects during the same period has been in the region of 25%. While 2015-17 has brought some small increases to some of our funding streams, it remains unclear what the future holds. It appears the economy is improving but how, and how soon, that will have an impact upon services is more difficult to ascertain.

National policy continues to shift and change. Better Outcomes Brighter Futures has been published as has the National Youth Strategy and these two documents will bring clarity to the bigger picture. Kildare Youth Services welcome the clarity that these documents bring and are clear that we can clearly locate the work that we do within the framework presented.  

One of the biggest challenges for organisations such as our own is the increased monitoring and accountability processes and structures that are being put in place. Each of the Children & Young People's Services Committees, the Local Community Development Committees, the Education & Training Boards, the City of Dublin Youth Services Board, and of course the Department of Children & Youth Affairs and TUSLA have been identified as having some role in the monitoring, oversight, and coordination of our work. The increased reporting, finance and administration demands that each of these have brought or may bring is happening at a time when ‘value for money’ is pushing us to reduce the costs associated with those very same aspects of the work. Something has got to give!

 

Any objectives we set out to achieve need to be informed by children, young people & their families and reflect the complexity and challenging nature of their lives at this time. We commit to ensure our work is based on clear assessments of need. Whether individually or on a community basis, we must ensure that the work we do is the work we should be doing, the work that is needed by the individual, the group, or the community rather than the work we have always done!

We know from our ongoing conversations with children and young people that ‘health and wellbeing’ is of primary importance to them. We know that this broad heading encompasses physical, mental and emotional health and includes topics such as relationships; body image; suicide; self-harm; bullying (in the cyber world or otherwise); sexuality; substance misuse amongst others.

We know that the state would like us to devote our time and energies to issues such as employability; job readiness; entrepreneurship; and pathways to education and training. These are real issues for young people and families, but their perspective also highlights the inequalities in the social welfare system; the lack of training and education places; the increased cost of access to third level education amongst others.

Our role, if we are to be true to the organisation we describe above, is to ensure the objectives outlined below are informed by and reflect the lived experiences of young people, children and families in Co. Kildare.