Lack of youth services in suburb due to perception area is ‘well-off’

Residents of a Cork suburb feel they live in a “forgotten town” when it comes to services for young people because it is perceived as a “well-off” area.

National child protection charity, the ISPCC, yesterday published the findings of its consultation with the people of Douglas on a range of issues affecting the youth of the town.

The Douglas Matters project discovered that the biggest concern facing young people and their families are drug and alcohol abuse, followed by bullying, mental health, peer pressure, and community safety.

If further found there is a perception that more can be done to provide support and resources for young people living in the area, and that Douglas lacks some of these services due to its status as an affluent area.

“Some community members in Douglas voiced concerns that it was a little harder to reach for support compared to other parts of the city as Douglas has always been perceived as a relatively well-off, vibrant, and thriving town,” said Sue Murphy, communications co-ordinator for the ISPCC .

“Douglas has some effective, valuable, services on the ground who work extremely hard to support children, teenagers, and families.

“However, many of them are under huge pressure and in some cases, do not have enough time or resources to advertise themselves within the community. Some families are, therefore, unaware of the services and research that’s available and reach out only when they are in crisis,” she said yesterday.

The project’s report states it is believed supports for young people are not needed in the area because of its socio-economic status.

“A socio-economic divide and poverty was also highlighted as a challenge as it was generally agreed that, along with neighbouring Rochestown, Douglas was seen by those who did not live there as an affluent area,” the report states.

“Those who work with young people have noted this deep socio-economic divide in the Douglas area and have said that because of this perceived perception, the support service infrastructure was not put in place as it was deemed not necessary.”

A safe space for teenagers to hang out and supports for families suffering from dysfunction were cited as examples of services needed in the area.

The report said its respondents “overwhelmingly” supported the idea that more services were needed.

“Young people would like to see more after-school and after-hours clubs and activities they can use.

“While some young people were content as they had sporting clubs like the GAA, others and even those who belonged to a sports club would like to see more non-sporting places to go after they finished their activities,” it read.

The report also found a “general consensus that there is a need for politicians to do more in the area”.


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