Insights from Shaping the Future of Voluntary Youth Work in Northern Ireland

19 Mar 2024 Leeann Kelly    Last updated: 21 Mar 2024

Photo from the Future of Voluntary Youth Work event in Belfast

In recent weeks, a series of workshops has ignited vital conversations across Northern Ireland, aimed at reshaping the landscape of youth work.

Organised by a committee from across the youth work and play sector and facilitated by NICVA, the workshops have brought over 120 people from across the youth sector together for collaborative discussions envisioning a shared future for the sector.

Supported by funding from the Dormant Account Fund, these in person and online workshops have reflected on current challenges and explored ways to repair, reconnect and transform the sector.

Participants emphasized the need for a unified voice, genuine inclusion of youth perspectives, and transparent communication. They recognized the importance of proactive approaches and advocating for the value of youth work.

“I think the value is bringing the whole voluntary sector together to explore what our future looks like and as a voluntary sector do we have a future- is it currently separate or can we be one voice united for the betterment of our children and young people”. (participant at Belfast event)

Roundtable discussions at our event in the Waterside Shared Village, Derry

“Young people are the future and if you don’t plan it you leave things down to happenstance. I think Northern Ireland is developing in a really unique and exciting way in the next couple of years… it’s great to have an opportunity to come together and talk about things”. (participant at the Derry event)


Across Belfast, Derry, Lurgan, Ballymena and the online workshops, participants have reflected on the value of collaborating at these gatherings and their desire for collective action.

The energy and optimism evident at the workshops has reaffirmed the appetite for working towards transforming the voluntary youth work sector.

With just one workshop in the series left, we encourage anyone involved in the delivery of voluntary youth work to come along on 26 March to the Canal Court in Newry to have your voice heard.


You can follow the progress of this work on Twitter or Instagram: @volyouthworksec 

By: Rachel Hasson, PR and Comms | Voluntary Youth Sector, [email protected]


This work has been funded by Dormant Accounts Fund NI and supported by the National Lottery Community Fund.'s picture
by Leeann Kelly

Impact Practice Manager

[email protected]

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