Helping our young people to be connected, respected and contributing to society

It is important for the wellbeing of our young people and the wellbeing of society that young people feel they have something to contribute to their community. 

One way of helping young people to be connected, respected and contributing is through involvement in Youth Clubs.

Youth Clubs in Donegal

A major issue affecting young people today is that it has become harder for them to develop a strong sense of identity, meaning, purpose, belonging and security compared to previous generations due to the dramatic way our world has changed.” (Eckersly, 2008).

Being part of a youth club has many great benefits for young people.  It improves their confidence and self-esteem, and it also gives them great opportunities to avail of training, make friends, learn new skills and really feel a part of their community.  International research has shown that young people who participate in youth clubs are happier overall and less likely to drink alcohol and smoke (Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 2009).  Youth clubs encourage young people to be active members of society and reach their potential.  Donegal Youth Service have 21 affiliated youth clubs throughout the county which offer great opportunities for accredited training facilitated by DYS such as Youth Leadership and Personal Development training, child protection training, and a range of other activities in a fun, safe and secure environment.  For more information about any DYS affiliated youth clubs, their opening hours, activities, and associated training please contact Charlene Logue, DYS Youth Outreach Manager, or 0863817959


To see where Foroige Clubs are across Donegal please just click on this link :



As a parent you may already be involved in contributing to your own community by way of volunteering in your local GAA club or simply bag packing in the local supermarket for the local special needs group. Being active in your community takes both commitment and time.  We also know that being active in your community can bring personal benefits.  For young people they can see themselves as having a positive role to play in society, they gain recognition from the community which greatly increases their self-confidence while also learning new skills and improving the quality of life for themselves and others.  We encourage young people to start off small, e.g. by volunteering with the Tidy Towns committee at an event or doing some messages for an elderly neighbour.

If you would more information on how young people can become involved in a Citizenship project in their area contact Susan McLoughlin in Foróige 086 6064291

Leadership programme

Foróige’s Leadership for Life Programme is a personal leadership development programme aimed at equipping young people with skills to explore their vision and passion, and to develop key skills such as planning, decision making, critical thinking, goal setting and problem solving that are core to leadership. The programme is run with a group 15-18 year olds over three modules.  Young people having completed all modules have the opportunity to graduate with a Foundation Certificate in Youth Leadership and Community Action from NUI Galway.

If you think your son/daughter would be interested contact Susan McLoughlin 086 6064291

Youth Entrepreneurship

Foróige’s youth entrepreneurship programme, Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), is a cutting edge, world recognised, education and development programme. Originally from the United States of America, the programme was brought to Ireland in 2004 and is now currently operating in 70 sites across Ireland.

The programme helps young people reach their potential, build their self-confidence, increase their school college and career aspirations, develop their interest in business to become future entrepreneurs and provide them with an opportunity to have a real-life business learning experience.

If you would more information on how young people can become involved in a NFTE programme contact Susan McLoughlin in Foróige 086 6064291

Worldwide Voices

 Donegal Youth Service’s Worldwide Voices project developed through their long history of engaging with young people from ethnic minority backgrounds.  This group gives young people from all backgrounds in Donegal a platform to express themselves through music, sports, and politics.  This project encourages young people to get involved in all aspects of the service, and aims to aid integration and connection in Donegal.  Contact Frankie McGreevy on 074 91 29630 for more information or to refer a young person.

Young Carers

A young carer is a young person whose life is affected by providing significant care, assistance, or support to a relative at home. Sometimes these duties of caring begin to impact other aspects of a young person’s life, like school, work, time spent with friends and hobbies.  Donegal Youth Service run a Young Carers’ Project for young people aged 12-24 which gives peer, and one-to-one support, respite and fun activities, school support and training.  Contact Frankie McGreevy on 074 91 29630 for more information or to refer a young person.





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Safer Internet Day takes place next Tuesday, 7th February 2023. Sadly more than 1 in 4 young people in Ireland have experienced cyberbullying, yet only 60% of victims tell their parents. As teenagers and children spend more time on the internet, ensuring it's a safe space is ever more important. To encourage conversation about life online and help parents keep their children safe, I'd like to share a free resource created by It's a comprehensive guide which includes things like:
  • How to reduce the risks online
  • How to recognise cyber bullying and grooming
  • How to educate children on cyber safety
  • How to set up parental controls on devices
I thought it may be useful to share the link to the guide - - which you can include on your website ahead of Safer Internet Day, to help parents and children who may need some extra support. We've also put together some handy top tips you can use on your website: 10 tips to keep your children safe online
  1. Talk about it:Make time to chat about online risks and how to use the internet safelyas soon as they're old enough to go online. Encourage your children to speak to you about what they view online and empower them to act if they're worried about anything.
  2. Recognise the risks: Educate yourself about the potential dangers children could face online so  it’s easier to spot warning signs. Get to know what platforms your children use, and learn about dangers such as phishing, grooming and cyberbullying.
  3. Teach the do's and don'ts: Be clear about the non-negotiables.  For example, teach your child not to share personal details or photos with strangers and instruct them not to click on links to unknown websites or texts. Do encourage your child to question what they see and only accept friend requests from people they know.
  4. Spot the signs: Pay attention to your children's behaviour whilst on and off their devices. Being alert to changes in your child can help prevent problems from escalating. Some warning signs are withdrawing from friends or family, sleeping and eating problems or losing interest in previously loved hobbies or interests.
  5. Set boundaries:Let your children know what they can and can't do on the internet from the get-go. Agree on what devices they can use, when, and how long they can spend online. As they get older, explaining and negotiating boundaries may be more effective.
  6. Take 'parental' control: These ready-made boundaries put parents in control of what children can see online. They can be set up through your internet provider at device level to block specific websites and filter out inappropriate content.
  7. Be social media savvy:  The popularity of social media apps like TikTok and Snapchat makes it harder to keep track of what your child is accessing online.  Fortunately, each social media platform has its own privacy settings and safety tips for parents. Check them out before you let children have their own accounts.
  8. Protect from harm:Install antivirus software on family devices to minimise the risk of cyber attacks or scams. Use two-factor authentication (2FA) for extra security on your online accounts. This can also stop children from signing into services they're not allowed to use.
  9. Set a great example:  You're the greatest 'influencer' in your children's lives when they're young.  Limiting your time online, discussing dangers you've come across, and questioning what you view can help reinforce the rules you are setting for your children and, in turn, influence their online behaviour.
  10. Seek support:The more you learn about online dangers, the better equipped you'll be to handle them. There are some great resources like  webwise.ieinternetmatters.organd to help you recognise and reduce online dangers and seek advice if you think your child is experiencing cyberbullying or is at risk online.
        Short videos on the Importance of Play have recently launched which was a collaboration between North Central CFSN and Lifestart Services.   Volume 1 Volume 2 Volume 3 Volume 4 Volume 5 Volume 6

Infant Mental Health Awareness Week runs from June 13th-19th.           

This week provides an opportunity to focus attention on the wellbeing, social and emotional development of our babies and young children. It highlights the importance of early relationships and a relationship based approach to interventions with infants and families. As our understanding of IMH and its evidence base develops, so also does our knowledge of how to apply this knowledge and an ‘IMH lens’ to interactions with infants, parents and caregivers in health and social services. 

What is infant mental health?

Infant Mental health (IMH) refers to the healthy social and emotional development of Infants starting at conception up to three years of age.

The first 1000 days of life are recognised as a critical period of opportunity to support infant mental health. Decades of research have shown that it is the quality of the early caregiver relationship that is a significant determinant of the infant’s healthy social and emotional development and in turn physical health, right up to adulthood.


The National Healthy Childhood Programme has embedded IMH as the foundation of the development of its resources and in the approach of the delivery of the universal child health service. This embedding of key messages can be seen in the My Child suite of books ( and also on  where key messages around bonding and relationship building have been embedded for the parent/caregiver.


In clinical practice the topic of IMH has been included for the first time in the National Standardised Child Health Record. To build on this, the National Healthy Childhood Programme have just completed a suite of three eLearning units which are now available on HSEland for healthcare practitioners / caregivers who are working with children and families.  


Throughout the week you will see videos and key IMH messaging being promoted on the HSE MyChild social media pages ( Facebook / Instagram ). Keep an eye out in the National Newspapers for articles from our experts also. (IrishTimes article)  


In addition The National Healthy Childhood Programme have developed a series of ten practical videos with HSE expert advice which are now available on YouTube and on the relevant pages on the website.

These videos (2-3 minutes each) are aimed at parents/guardians of children (0 – 3 years).

These new video resources are available here while lots more expert advice for every step of pregnancy, baby and toddler health can also be found at

There are a suite of posters available focusing on the promotion of IMH messaging to order from

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