Home > Youth cafés in Ireland: a best practice guide.

Child and Family Research Centre,, Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs. Forkan, Cormac and Canavan, John and Dolan, Pat and Bradley, Ciara and Brady, Bernadine and Carty, Catherine and Coen, Liam and Devaney, Carmel and Kearns, Noreen and Kenny, Anne and Merriman, Brian and O'Regan, Connie (2010) Youth cafés in Ireland: a best practice guide. Dublin: Stationery Office.

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Conceptual model and framework for youth cafés
By grounding the ‘youth café’ idea in a conceptual base, it is possible to set out what is unique to the model of youth care provided by such cafés and how it differs to the ‘youth club’ model. Considering this, a youth café can be conceptualised as: offering support, ranging from practical to advisory, for young people in a non-stigmatising way; being based on well-established youth work principles; providing a forum for young people to develop their social networks and thus their social support; playing an important role in offering a secure base for young people; being central in its potential to enable a young person to become or stay resilient; helping connect resilience to civic engagement.

One of the most attractive features of a youth café is that it can work with young people across all levels of need, including universal populations through to those ‘at risk’. The 2007 Youth Café Survey commissioned by the OMCYA estimates that there are more than 20 youth cafés in operation around Ireland, with the highest density in Co. Wexford (Donnelly et al, 2009).

In the Request for Tender for this research, the OMCYA described the main types of youth cafés found in Ireland as:
Type 1 – A place or space to simply ‘hang out’ with friends, to chat, drink coffee or a soft drink, watch TV or movies, surf the Internet, etc.
Type 2 – All the above but also with the inclusion of entertainment or leisure services chosen by the young people themselves, together with information on State and local services of interest and relevance to young people.
Type 3 – This is perhaps the ideal model and the one that should be aimed for in the medium to long term, where all the above activities and facilities are augmented by the actual provision of services targeted directly at young people. This can include education and training, healthcare (both physical and emotional) and direct targeted assistance.

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