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Funding axed but Teen-Line will continue

Teen-Line Ireland, which provides a vital service for teenagers in distress, has seen its State funding axed.

It comes at a time when demand for the service has increased dramatically – it received more than 2,500 calls from teens since the start of the year.

The Tallaght-based charity received confirmation earlier this week that the HSE's National Office for Suicide Prevention (NOSP), would not be providing further funding to the free-phone helpline service.

Bronagh Walsh, the manager of Teen-Line, told the Herald that the body was "very disappointed" at the decision.

But she said that she wanted to reassure their service users and their volunteers that the service will continue and that fundraising efforts will increase in the coming months.

"We will have to stand on our own two feet, but we have to go on," said Bronagh.

She said that the HSE funding had amounted to around €60,000 a year, while the service costs between €100,000 to €120,000 annually to run, so it is a significant loss.

Last month alone, Teen-Line received 1,300 calls. The number of calls rose by 32pc to the helpline last year.

EVALUATION

"We know the type of calls we get, and there really is a need for it," Bronagh said.

The NOSP said that following many months of robust engagement with Teen-Line, which included an independent evaluation, the NOSP has determined that it will not be providing funding to the charity. It said that the decision to cease funding was primarily down to Teen-Line's "governance and service provision" and its "limited capacity to provide a national, quality assured helpline and multimedia service to young people".

It is understood that the HSE, which has been providing funding to Teen-Line since 2006, has recommended that the listening service aligns itself with one of the larger, national helplines, due to the HSE's focus on non-replication of services.

However, there are no plans to do that on the part of Teen-Line as it is a distinct service, and it does operate as a national helpline, said Bronagh.

"We have good patrons and we have a good board," she said.

FDILLON@HERALD.IE


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