New project aims to help youth workers support LGBTQ+ young people in Ireland

According to recently published findings, youth workers in Ireland need additional training in key areas such as trans awareness and LGBTQ+ sexual health.

This article is about youth workers supporting LGBTQ+ people in Ireland. In the photo, the hands of young people gathered on top of each other.
Image: Via Unsplash - Hannah Busing

On March 30, Youth Work Ireland Laois published the first findings from the Proud Spaces project, which aims to develop effective practices to help youth workers in creating safe spaces for young LGBTQ+ people.

Proud Spaces is an Erasmus+ and Leargas-funded project aimed at supporting European services that work with queer youth. Its goal is to develop effective practices and policy resources for youth workers to improve their support of young LGBTQ+ people.

As part of the project, earlier in February, Youth Work Ireland Laois held an online consultation session with youth workers across the country who wished to contribute to research on how to best support young LGBTQ+ people. The first set of findings were then released, compiled through an extensive review of youth work practices, surveys and workshops conducted with young people.

According to the results, the main barriers that LGBTQ+ people find in attending youth groups are related to homophobia and transphobia, their fear of being outed before they’re ready and difficulties in accessing public transportation – a problem that is particularly prevalent in rural areas.


Moreover, youth workers involved in the research identified areas where they feel additional training is needed to support LGBTQ+ people in Ireland, including trans awareness, sexual health, support of neurodivergence and legislation and policies relating to queer folk.

According to youth workers, younger members of society find benefit in being able to access safe LGBTQ+ spaces because it makes them feel like they’re not alone and gives them an environment where their voices can be heard and where they can be accepted and understood. Moreover, they gain the ability and agency to drive positive change.

The evidence from this research will inform the next phase of the project, which will develop a framework of best practices to support LGBTQ+ youth. Proud Spaces has also launched the European Youth Worker’s Survey with the goal of gathering more input to develop the practice framework, which will be open until May 23.

Moreover, the project will also include workshops for youth work practitioners to discuss challenges, outcomes and effective practices. More information on dates and times for the workshops can be found here.

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