Minister Joe O’Brien launches Foróige Balbriggan Digital Youth Hub

22nd July, 2022

Minister for Community Development & Charities Joe O’Brien launched the Foróige Balbriggan Digital Youth Hub this week.

Supported by philanthropy, the Foróige Balbriggan Digital Youth Hub opened with the generous support of the McHugh Family Fund at the Community Foundation of Ireland.  It will enable the service to reach a wider audience and deliver multimedia and technology programmes to all young people from the Balbriggan area regardless of need. The Hub is also being supported by HSE Social Inclusion.

The Hub will also operate late evenings and all-day Saturday.

Speaking at the launch Minister O’Brien said:

I am really delighted to be here today to launch this new service because this is exactly what we need – a more universal model in a service for young people. This is something I have been supporting Foróige to develop for some time now and its great to see the service expansion come to fruition.

It will also help to address an issue that really came to the fore in Covid around digital poverty and access to it.

As Minister with responsibility for volunteering one of the key objectives is to diversify and increase participation in volunteering.  This service sees a growth in availability of universal youth work open to all young people.  We also want to engage more young people in volunteering and this will help that aim.

“I can’t help but think of the Planet Youth project too and the event we had two weeks ago with stakeholders from across the county.

“This project will hugely help in terms of providing additional protective factors for young people to engage – a safe space, an accessible space, a space where people can broaden their world and their social network.

“So I am really delighted to see that it will operate in the evenings and all day Saturday. I think those evenings will be especially appreciated in the winter months.

“There is another very exciting and interesting context here too in terms of my chairing the National Advisory Group on the Development of a Government Policy on Philanthropy in Ireland. I really welcome the support of localised projects with a real tangible impact and thank the McHugh Family Fund for the support of this project.

“I am really glad that this is happening here.  Balbriggan has the largest population of young people in Ireland and the town with the greatest diversity.  The potential and talent of the young people in Balbriggan is staggering to be honest.

The Digital Hub was created in a collaborative way where young people had an opportunity to input into the development of the Hub influencing its creation.

The Foróige Balbriggan Digital Hub will enhance employability skills and encourage volunteers to work in partnership with Foróige to deliver programmes.

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