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Bronagh O’Neill    Manager Sara Leonard    Administrator Brendan Marsh    YEAH Coordinator Fiona Joyce    Youth Worker Claire McAlinden    Youth Worker

What is the Canal Communities Regional Youth Service?
The Canal Communities Regional Youth Service is a project based in south side of Dublin city, Ireland that serves the communities of Bluebell, Inchicore and Rialto. Our remit is to develop a network of community based youth projects, youth clubs and youth groups in the area and to provide support services for those groups. The Canal Communities is a name that was given to the three areas named above for the purpose of funding for local community development, drugs intervention, youth work, education, enterprise, training and employment programmes. CCRYS was set up in 1999. It was established to support the many youth groups in the area that are run by volunteers and by paid workers through training, volunteer development and the development of youth group programmes. The idea of the CCRYS came from a group called the Children and Young People’s Forum within the Canal Communities Partnership back in 1997. A number of youth workers from youth projects and youth clubs came together and the idea of an organisation that would assist in the development of youth groups across the region emerged. It was agreed that the support to be offered would be to youth groups including sports and uniformed groups, youth projects and clubs, after school projects and services for young people marginalised by ethnicity, disability or educational disadvantage. The support would include networking opportunities volunteers, training, help in getting funding, cross community activities for young people to get involved in and advocacy on behalf of the groups. The CCRYS was seed funded by the partnership to get up and running and in 1999 through funding from the Young People’s Facilities and Services Fund, three workers were employed to begin the work.

What is the mission of the organisation?
Canal Communities Regional Youth Service operates in the areas of Bluebell, Inchicore and Rialto. Our mission is to enhance the quality of life and choices for young people, engaging and supporting a diverse range of youth services and activities. We acknowledge the rights of young people that include equality, respect, participation and inclusion.

Who is behind the CCRYS?
CCRYS is governed by a Board of Directors. The Board is made up of representatives of local youth groups from each of the areas of Bluebell, Rialto and Inchicore. We break the areas up into different types of youth groups. The four areas are:

  • Community youth projects
  • Youth Clubs
  • Sports and uniformed groups
  • Groups that work with young people who are marginalised by ethnicity, disability or educational disadvantage.

We also work with after schools projects, summer projects, and special interest groups such as variety groups. Our Board of Directors currently includes representatives of youth clubs, youth projects, the Scouts, a youth football club and a baton-twirling group.

Sandra Wilson (Chairperson)
Sandra has been a member of the CCRYS Board for six years and Chairperson for two. She has been involved for over seven years with the Emerald Baton Twirlers in Bluebell & Inchicore.
Sandra Wilson

Sinead Harris
Youth Club Sector
The manager of Ferrini Youth Club, Rialto, where programmes include football, table tennis, pool, games, trips, dancing, drama, arts & crafts and computers.
Jim Lawlor
Youth Project Sector
The Manager of Rialto Youth Project working with young men and young women’s group, art projects, drama, festivals, summer projects, outreach work and International youth exchanges.
Jim Lawlor
Julia McAuley
The manager of Bulfin Youth Club where general activities include arts & crafts, sports, dance, drama, samba drumming and photography.
Julia Mc Auley
Richard Philips
Manager, CCIC (Canal Communities Intercultural Centre)
Richard is manager of CCIC (Canal Communities Intercultural Centre), as well as CEO of ACET (AIDS Care Education and Training). He has a background of 8 years in the voluntary sector, including 2 years in Poland and 3 in Africa, and has another 8 years corporate experience in Dell.
He is married to Wendy and has an eleven-year-old son Zeph. Richard loves to hike and rock-climb, although these never seems to happen often enough
Emer Corcoran
Emer started volunteering as a junior leader in St. Joseph’s Youth Club. Emer has taken part in two youth exchanges and is currently involved in a group who intend to volunteer in Africa this year.

Who do we work with?
CCRYS works with voluntary youth groups. By this we mean that the group is non-profit making and is governed by a voluntary management committee. Some voluntary clubs are run solely by volunteers, others such as the youth projects have volunteers on the management committee, employ youth workers and also have volunteers working face to face with young people. We receive funding from the Departments of Education & Science and the Department of Community Rural and Gaeltacht affairs through the Young People’s Facilities and Services Fund and the City of Dublin Youth Service Board.

What we do?
Canal Communities Regional Youth Service offers support services to youth groups in the Canal Communities. These include:


  • Child Protection
  • Basic youth leadership induction training
  • First Aid
  • Fetac accredited Skills of a Youth Leader
  • Fetac accredited Child Development and Play
  • Peer Education

Child Protection

  • Training
  • Policy and procedures
  • Advice and information


  • Area based meetings for the different youth groups
  • Forums for youth workers and volunteers to share experiences and learn from each other
  • After School Network

Cross Community Activities

  • National Youth Federation Games and Variety Programmes
  • Cross Community Summer Project Activities

Volunteer Development

  • Volunteer recruitment, selection and placement
  • Annual volunteer appreciation event
  • Policy and procedures for volunteer development

Junior Leadership

  • Training in junior leadership for young people


  • CCRYS minibus is available to groups


  • CCRYS Directory of Youth Services
  • CCRYS website:
  • Dissemination of information on grants and funding to groups

Development of innovative and educational programmes

  • Social Education Programmes
  • International Exchange Work
  • Youth work curriculum development
  • Collaboration in arts and cultural development with Common Ground Arts Organisation
  • Early School Leavers Education Project with Canal Communities Partnership and local youth projects
  • Facilitation of planning, evaluation and training with youth groups

Administrative Support to youth groups

  • Financial
  • General

Representing youth groups on regional and national organisations

  • Canal Communities Partnership Board of Directors and Education Sub Committee
  • Canal Communities Local Drugs Taskforce
  • Common Ground Board of Directors
  • National Youth Federation member

How we do it?
CCRYS works from the principle of collaboration. What this means is that we aim to develop our services working jointly with youth groups in the area. There are three ‘Youth Service Support Workers’ in each of the local youth projects, Bluebell, St. Michael’s and Rialto. The Youth Service Support Workers and CCRYS Development Worker discuss issues that arise in the local areas and plan regional responses. Direction in our work can come from youth leaders on the ground, from our Board of Directors and from CCRYS workers. CCRYS creates a yearly Operational Plan that is passed by the Board of Directors and submitted to our funding agency City of Dublin Youth Service Board. The Board and staff review the direction and progress of the work annually and set new priorities.

Overview of Youth Work in Ireland:
Youth Work is a planned systematic non-formal educational process which assists and enhances the personal and social development of young people. It is complementary to the school and in Ireland is implemented primarily by voluntary youth organisations and groups. Over 50 youth organisations operate in the Republic of Ireland, which have a combined membership of over 500,000 young people and serve 250,000 others. Over 40,000 voluntary adult youth leaders are involved as the main educators, with support from approximately 1,000 full-time staff. Each organisation has its own philosophy, programme and structures, but all have the following characteristics:

  • An active model of learning – “learning by doing”
  • Involvement on a voluntary basis
  • Beneficial and enjoyable experiences
  • A partnership approach between youth leaders and young people
  • A community context
  • A recognition of inequalities in the lives of young people
  • Active participation of young people in the processes of decision-making, planning, organisation and evaluation

The rich diversity of approaches taken by youth organisations offers young people a wide choice for their involvement.

The 3 main categories of youth organisations are

  • Specialist Youth Organisations (environmental, arts based, youth political, Irish language, etc.)
  • Uniformed Organisations (Scouts, Guides, etc.)
  • Youth Club/Youth Service Organisations

The membership of youth organisations varies considerably. Some organisations specialise in involving particular age groups e.g. 12-18 year olds, some cater for just one gender e.g. Girl Guides and some are aimed at particular groups of young people e.g. young Travellers.

Youth organisations operate a variety of programmes and activities, catering for young people with different needs and interests, such as:

  • Outdoor pursuits (hiking, water activities, etc.)
  • Project work
  • Games & Recreation
  • Arts (drama, dance, etc.)
  • Citizenship & Social Action
  • Summer Projects
  • International exchanges

Youth Work at a local level is generally supported by voluntary youth leaders who work in partnership with members. Young people’s participation in decision-making within the youth group is one of the key features of good youth work. Many Youth Organisations also provide Youth Work Projects aimed at disadvantaged young people. These vary substantially in their target groups, structure and programmes. In addition, there is a network of Youth Information Centres around the country, providing information to young people on youth-related topics. In addition to the work of youth organisations, there are a growing number of independently managed, community-based youth projects. These projects are not affiliated to national youth organisations and are, in the main, funded by Government Departments or agencies other than the Youth Affairs Section of the Department of Education and Science. The work of youth workers and leaders has become more complex and demanding in the context of the challenges faced by young people in Ireland’s rapidly changing socio-economic environment. Youth Organisations are constantly developing to ensure that they can meet the needs of young people in this changing situation. The Youth Affairs Section of the Department of Education & Science is the main Government Department with responsibility for funding and supporting youth work.