YOUNG people in Donegal remain affected by the pandemic a leading local charity has warned, as it revealed it has supported almost 11,500 people.
The detail is contained in Donegal Youth Service’s annual report, published in recent days.
It documents how the impact on normal life for children and young people has continued to deepen.
The report states how 2021 saw the continuation of service delivery in and out of Covid restrictions, and of how the pandemic affected this age group more than any other.
“We have seen first-hand the huge impact on their coping skills and mental health. We have seen first-hand the huge impact on their coping skills and mental health. The lack of opportunity to attend school, to socialise with their peers, to attend significant life events and the continuous stop start nature of restrictions has left many children and young people struggling with these changes.”
Continuing the new delivery adopted in 2020, DYS staff used a variety of methodologies and youth work approaches to support and engage young people.
The continuance of unprecedented circumstances laid a backdrop of additional challenges but DYS continued to deliver as full a service as possible whilst adhering to restriction guidelines.
In 2021 Donegal Youth Service engaged a total of 11,418 young people through its projects and youth clubs.
There were 25 youth clubs and projects which were supported by 338 adult volunteers.
It was still a busy year for training as 493 adults and 4,280 young people received various training programmes throughout the year both online and off-line.
A total of 20 events took place throughout the year, and Donegal Youth Service had 53 strategic partnerships in 2021.
DYS Regional Director Lorraine Thompson said: “Covid-19 continued to pose so many challenges for the staff, volunteers and young people within Donegal Youth Service. We continued to be there to engage and support young people. We recognise that on-line delivery is no substitute for face to face engagement and continue to respond to these challenges as best we can.”
Ms Thompson said it was important to point out that a major casualty of the pandemic has been volunteer-led youth clubs which have unanimously stated that Covid-19 has impacted on their ability to provide services to young people.
It has also financially impacted on their ability to reopen when restrictions eased and they are very concerned about their ability to re-engage volunteers.