Mayor Frank Fahy welcomed delegates from all corners of Europe to Galway in early December and encouraged them to support Galway2020’s bid for European Capital of Culture. Youth Work Ireland Galway hosted the 30th Anniversary General Assembly of the Platform Network. The informal network supports co-operation within the youth sector between regions, municipalities, countries in Europe, and has grown from a single summer youth camp between England and Luxembourg in 1983 to up to 50 activities a year between partners. The Network was formally constituted in 1985 and the first General Assembly followed in 1986. Every year since then partnerships between members of Platform Network have facilitated youth mobility activities to fulfil to facilitate cultural intercultural learning and personal development. The Network has 21 full members and 4 regions with Observer Status. It is an unusual Network in the European context as no staff are employed and the Secretariat is shared by the previous host organisation with the current and future host regions.
The theme of 2015 was enhancing youth employment skills through partnerships in Youth Mobility. Most of the organisations avail of Erasmus+ funding from the EU to promote opportunities for young people and adults who support them. Unfortunately some members did not participate this year due to situations in their regions but Youth Work Ireland Galway played hosted members from Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden and locals from Tipperary Regional Youth Service. It is the first time in the history of the Network that Ireland hosted the event and the occasion was marked with a wonderful cake.
Youth Work Ireland Galway is a local voluntary youth service Youth Work Ireland Galway providing support to volunteer led youth clubs open to all young people and staff led youth projects are providing universal activities and developmental services in Tuam, Ballinasloe, Loughrea and Galway City. Other services include Youth Information, shOUT! LGBT Youth Project, CAPE Peer Education Project, 2 Youth Diversion Projects in Tuam and Ballinasloe as well as free Youth Counselling. Galway City and County Councils contract Youth Work Ireland Galway to deliver Comhairle na nÓg throughout Galway.
In 2015 Youth Work Ireland Galway hosted a seminar, job shadow placements of Youth Workers, hosted European Voluntary Service placements, work experience placements from EU 3rd level colleges. Young people, volunteers and staff from Galway travelled to Germany, Finland, Portugal, Italy, Georgia, Estonia, Belgium, Luxembourg and Spain with the support of the Erasmus+ funding. For more details on Erasmus+ contact Leargas, the Exchange Bureau at 01 8871280 or visit their website. The local youth service sees huge value in offering young people opportunities to travel and learn outside of their local environment especially with the current rate of youth unemployment.