In July 2013, we held a Discussion Day with organisations we regularly support to review the changing needs of the young Irish community and their continued need for funding.
The following issues were highlighted:
Young Irish people were continuing to arrive in the UK unprepared for life, often in a chaotic state and in dire need, with no access to funds.
Agencies supporting young people in need were themselves struggling to cope with demand and changes in the welfare system (and reductions in statutory core funding).
Food and shelter were immediate and urgent priorities, and emergency repatriation where appropriate.
Following this consultation we launched a new initiative “Immediate Youth Focus”, to kick-start a lifeline for young people caught in a changing climate and who were living in abject poverty. The aim was to provide an emergency safety net over the difficult winter months and beyond for destitute young individuals up to the age of 30. Funding was provided to 5 agencies supporting young people of Irish descent, but not exclusively, in London and other inner-City or deprived areas around the country, and which were well-equipped to address these needs.
This initiative has been welcomed as a truly beneficial and essential resource by the organisations involved and we aim to continue the programme.
“Without this fund, 21 young people would have ended up sleeping on the streets of London, falling prey to the physical and mental health deterioration that is an inevitable consequence of rough sleeping in the Capital”
– New Horizon Youth Centre