Youth Services Support

How children and young people can access essential support services and emotional support.

We are working with partners in education and youth across our communities to make sure that children and young people have access to essential support services at this time. Here you will find information on a wide range of support that is available to children and young people

Youth Restart

As we enter the summer we wish to provide the sector with guidance around Youth Restart which is linked to the wider Education Restart.

Provided below are the following documents:

  • Youth Restart which provides organisational guidance and support based on the Northern Ireland (NI) Executive’s Pathway to Recovery
  • Best Practice Guide for Staff on a Safe Return to Restarting Youth Service which provides detailed guidance on managing and supporting youth staff returning to the workplace
  • Welcoming Youth – Supporting the Restarting of Youth Services which provides guidance and support to young people returning to youth services
  • Coping with Change – Personal Development Programme which provides an outline of a programme along with resources to support the return of young people to youth services.

As you are aware restrictions imposed by COVID-19 can change and we will endeavour to update these documents in line with any updated guidance from the NI Executive or PHA.

Covid-19 EA Youth Services

I am a young person. How can I currently access Youth Services?

All youth centres and generic services in Northern Ireland are currently closed. As part of Youth Restart, the Education Authority plans to reopen all generic and targeted youth services in early October. Specific dates for reopening are dependent on our preparations for each centre or project to be ready to safely welcome you back. We will be working throughout September to ensure we have everything in place and will communicate when our centres are open through the EA website and social media platforms.

Access to individual support can still be gained through the stay connected online platform

If I require counselling support can this be provided?

Online counselling can be provided through the stay connected website at
If you are a registered pupil within a post primary school, counselling can be arranged through the normal school processes.

What is happening with youth service funding?

Information on Youth Service funding can be found on the EA website on

What is happening with Outdoor Learning Centres?

All centres are currently closed. If you have a booking for September onwards, the Outdoor Learning Adviser will contact you with an update.

We are currently working on measures to provide safe residentials and outdoor learning provision for all children and young people and staff.

When centres are open for bookings again, this will be posted on the EA website and relevant social media platforms, along with guidance.

What Services are available?

  • Spaces of Sanctuary

Spaces of Sanctuary for vulnerable young people are available in Youth Hubs across NI for emergency support, provided to young people aged 11 to 25 years. Referrals are from the PSNI or their partner organisations.  The senior officer with responsible for ‘Spaces of Sanctuary’ is Lynsey Branniff (

Stay Connected is an engagement service which remotely supports young people who are staying safe at home as a result of COVID-19.  It provides an opportunity for young people to obtain help (support needs – loneliness and isolation; support services; medical supplies that need collected or delivered; emotional health; mental health; meals or food; physical health). You can access the Stay Connected service at:

  • iConnect Programme

The iConnect Programme is an online group work programme which provides the opportunity for children and young people to engage in group work programmes led and designed by our Youth Worker Team. You can access and join an iConnect programme through the Stay Connected service by completing the form at

  • START Programme

Similarly those young people under paramilitary threat are continued to be supported using online platforms or in 1:1 work by their key worker in the START Programme (Steering Teens Away from Recurrent Trouble). The senior manager leading on this work is Stephen Quigley (

  • Youth Online

Youth Online is a website which provides resources for young people and youth workers enabling them to ‘Stay Connected, Stay Safe, Stay Well, Stay Engaged’.  This online platform will have regular updates, designed by young people for the youth work sector and will provide a broad range of curriculum resources and activities for young people. It will also link to other essential services for young people across the region and signpost accordingly. The senior manager responsible for this service is Paul Deighan (

Tell me more about these Youth Online services

The youth online website enables young people aged 9 -25 years to access youth services remotely.    

Stay Connected

Here you can access the online form to request support for practical things including food and emotional support.

Stay Engaged

Here you can access activities to stay engaged when at home such as arts & crafts, challenges and media resources.

Stay Safe Stay Well

Here you can get guidance on how to look after yourself during Covid-19

Live Streams

Here you can access live streams developed by the youth service as well as previous broadcasts. These range from magic shows and fitness classes to story telling

Stay Connected

Who can use the Stay Connected Service?

Stay Connected is for any young person aged 9 – 25.

Parents, or adults who provide support services for young people, can also complete a referral form for a young person. 

When does the Stay Connected Service operate?

This service operates Monday to Friday from 11-2pm and 3-7pm. Once a form is submitted a youth worker will make contact as soon possible with you and your parent if under 18 years.

How do I complete the form to access the stay connected service and receive support?

Click here to access the online form, you can also watch a video here which explains the service

The short form will ask for some key contact information so as we can get in touch by your preference of either by text, WhatsApp, video or voice call.

What does the Stay Connected Service provide for young people?

Young people can contact us simply to chat to a youth worker. Alternatively, they can ask for support and outline the nature of the support required under the following headings:

Loneliness & Isolation, Mental Health, Support Services, Meals/Food, Medical Supplies (which need collected or delivered), Physical Health, Emotional Health or Other can be specified.

The young person is asked to outline the support they need on the online form. The Stay Connected Youth Worker will discuss this with them when they call, to find out how best to provide this support.

The Stay Connected service is committed to maintaining high standards of confidentiality however if there are concerns that a young person is at risk of harm, or they have the intention to harm someone else, we will have to pass this information on.  In this instance, we will outline to the young person what information is going to be shared and who it will be shared with.

What safeguarding measures are in place for the Service?

Parental consent is gained prior to contact taking place with a Stay Connected youth worker. This will be arranged during a “setup call” by the Stay Connected manager. Consent will be given verbally or through a confirmation text that will be noted.

A Code of Conduct for youth work staff and young people is available here on our site.

Who can I contact if I have a concern?

If you are a parent and have any concerns regarding the service, please speak with the Stay Connected youth worker who is in contact with your child.

If you are still concerned, you can talk to the Stay Connected manager who will be part of the conversation on the setup call and who will gain your permission for contact to proceed.

Alternatively, you can contact the Locality Lead Officer for your area by clicking here


The youth service has a targeted programme to support young people who experience mental health difficulties. This service is called FLARE (Facilitating Life and Resilience Education). FLARE will continue to use online platforms to maintain contact with and support young people who have already been previously been referred. The ‘Stay Connected’ initiative can also refer young people to FLARE, based on need. The senior manager responsible for this service is Caroline Karayiannis (

You can also access the direct FLARE Referral form online here.

START Programme

Young people under paramilitary threat will continue to be supported using online platforms or in 1:1 work with their key worker in the START Programme (Steering Teens Away from Recurrent Trouble). The senior manager leading on this work is Stephen Quigley

EA Youthline

Last updated: 08/10/2020