EVERY €1 invested in youth work will ultimately result in savings to the State of €2.22, a new report has claimed.
The Indecon report, commissioned by the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI), outlines the economic savings that could be made by the State in the long term as a result of investment in youth work.
The report finds that the proportion of young Irish people who are not in employment, education or training is among the highest in the EU – but that Ireland has the highest proportion of involvement in youth clubs or organisations.
The report – which can be downloaded here – also finds that nearly 383,000 young people benefit from programmes and services offered by those involved in youth work.
The NCYI is arguing for State funding of youth work initiatives, which currently amounts to €79 million a year – the equivalent of €206 per young person who benefits from it.
At current rates, the Council estimates that €900 million of public funds will be spent on youth work in the next decade – but that this will reap savings of €2 billion, as the work will substitute for other programmes that the government would have to provide itself.
(YouTube: Daniel Dunne)
Launching the report yesterday, Senator Jillian van Turnhout said the Indecon report provided “hard evidence that youth work is also value for money and makes economic sense”.
NCYI director Mary Cunningham said that while the body understood the pressures on public funding, it also felt that decisions on government spending “must be informed by independent and rigorous evidence”.
“Investment in youth work has the capacity to meet the needs of young people impacted by the recession,” she said. “Further cuts to the youth work budget are not only socially unfair but also economically unsound.”