An exploration of the views of young adults aged 18+ on the YMCA ‘Ground Floor Open Youth Space’

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O'Shea, Gill
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Community-Academic Research Links, University College Cork
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This study began as an MSW dissertation as part of the Science Shop Initiative by University College Cork. The aim of this research is to evaluate the YMCA Open Floor Youth Space from the perspective of the young adults. Central to the focus of ‘Ground Floor’ is providing an ‘open door’ youth space which is run by the young people themselves in conjunction with youth worker David Backhouse. This research firstly critically appraises literature and policy which is germane to the young adults who use ‘Ground Floor’. Contemporary issues which shape the future of youth work in Ireland are also examined: ‘universality versus selected service provision’, professionalism and voluntarism and state’s involvement and funding. Qualitative research was employed in the undertaking of this study. The theoretical perspectives applied to this research were, epistological and interpretive perspectives. Primary research was undertaken in the form of two respective focus groups, each focus group consisted of four Ground Floor members ages 18+. Purposive sampling in the form of snowballing was utilised to recruit participants. The young adults who participated in the research expressed appreciation and trust in the Ground Floor. The young people who participated in the focus groups provided a multi faceted view of the youth space, proving that every individual who walks through the door has a different experience. The benefits and positive contributions it has to young people’s lives is evident. For instance Ground Floor enables its members to: play an active role in activities and decision making, access a wider support network, receive support in their personal and social development in addition to gaining a sense of pride and satisfaction for the work they have contributed. There was a sense of ‘shared ownership’ of Ground Floor amongst the young adults; they viewed the space as ‘their own’. Many young adults attributed social integration and the opportunity to be exposed to a culturally rich environment as positive impacts which Ground Floor has had on their lives. Following this research it is recommended that the Ground Floor seek funding and resources to maintain the work they are undertaking with young adults. Further research to charter the progress of the space should be undertaken by both the young adults themselves and through future Science Shop Projects. It is hoped that the space may expand to other areas of Cork city and county.
Young Men’s Christian Association , YMCA , Ground Floor Open Youth Space , Young adults
O'Shea, G. (2012) An exploration of the views of young adults aged 18+ on the YMCA ‘Ground Floor Open Youth Space’. Cork: Community-Academic Research Links, University College Cork.
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© 2012, Gill O'Shea.