Exchange House Youth Service is the main provider of Youth Services to the Traveller Community in the greater Dublin Area, including St Margaret’s Park and Carton. For more about Exchange House Traveller Services, see http://www.exchangehouse.ie
In 1987, with funding from the Department of Education and Science (Youth Affairs Section) and the Department of the Environment and Local Government the ‘Dublin Committee for Travelling People – Youth Affairs’ was established. This was dissolved in 1996 and the project changed its name to Travellers Youth Service (TYS).
Using the Critical Social Education Model the Youth Service respects, encourages and supports the young people they work with, most of whom are at risk of early school leaving, drugs, poverty and social exclusion. Through social and personal education, Exchange House Youth Service aims to ensure that as many young Travellers as possible are able to participate in youth activities. They run programmes that create opportunities for the youths they work with, challenging them to take responsibility, use their talents and increase their chances to stay in the education system. The ultimate goal is to enable them to take a greater control of their own life and participate in their own community and the wider society. The primary target age group is 10-25 years, both male and female.
On-Site Youth Service
On sites where there are facilities, such as in St Margaret’s Park, Exchange House operates an On-Site Youth Service. This is usually where their developmental and older age group programmes take place. The programmes provide a safe place for participants to learn and develop. Examples include:
- Leadership training
- Personal effectiveness
- Anti-bullying programmes
- Arts and crafts
- Fun and games
In each category, young people are encouraged to become involved with the running of the club and they also encourage members of the older age categories to be helpers/leaders with the younger age groups, challenging them to take a greater responsibility in their own lives and communities.