The HSE’s Gaf health advisory café in Francis Street has been awarded the Health Quality Mark’s gold award by the National Youth Council of Ireland.
The eight-year-old cafe, which attracts more than 300 people each week, clinched the honour because of its commitment to quality in youth health promotion. This was achieved by improving young people’s awareness of health and health-related issues and providing an adolescent-friendly place for young people to meet.
The Health Quality Mark is an innovative initiative from the National Youth Health Programme (NYHP ), part of the National Youth Council of Ireland. It acknowledges youth organisations which have achieved a high standard of quality in promoting health in their organisation, including young people, staff and volunteers.
Congratulating the Gaf, Kevin O’Hagan, youth health senior project officer at the National Youth Council of Ireland, said the award is evidence that the centre is managed and staffed by people who are committed to quality standards in health promotion and the wellbeing of people using the centre.
“It represents extensive work and reflection by the centre to ensure that proper procedures and policies are in place to maintain a health-promoting environment for young people and staff. The centre used this opportunity to build on the good work that is going on in the Gaf and to ensure their work is in line with national and international best practice in the area of youth health promotion.”
Speaking at the presentation of the award Frances Ford, manager of the Gaf, said the centre was delighted to receive the Gold Health Quality Mark.
“It is the achievement of everyone involved in the Gaf - young people, volunteers and staff. Confirmation that the Gaf is operating to standards set down on a national and international level is great news and we hope to continue setting high standards. I would recommend the Health Quality Mark to any organisation as it is an opportunity to review policies, procedures and structures.”
Blue Hanley, a member of the Gaf’s youth council, said the Gaf is more than just a place to go when it is raining.
“It’s much more. It’s a youth-friendly environment and an information centre. If you have any questions, worries or troubles you can come in and there’ll always be someone happy to listen. The Gaf acts as a health service directed towards young people, and it does this very well.”
Although the Gaf is open to all young people between the ages of 14 and 25 years, it particularly targets those at risk. In addition to the drop-in service, the interventions offered include issue-focused group work (eg, drug information and education, sexual health and anti-racism ), personal development group work (eg, yoga, photography, drama, soccer ) and one-to-one support.