About Us


KDYS is a youth based and youth focused organisation. Everything we do is for young people and about young people. We aim to create opportunities and to expand the lives of young people and their communities. We understand that everyone has a voice and young people learn by leading and doing. KDYS knows how important it is to work with and not just for young people.

We are a community-based youth work organisation committed to serving all young people in a safe, fun and positive environment, through the provision of youth spaces, services, mentoring, training and ongoing opportunities for their holistic development.

We have been here, in the community, for over 50 years.

Founded in 1971, KDYS is the leading Youth Work Organisation in the South West of Ireland. In fact KDYS is the leading Youth Work Organisation in the South West of Ireland covering the Diocese of Kerry. This includes the entire county of Kerry, the Beara Peninsula and the North West cork region of Duhallow.

Our Mission

KDYS is a community-based youth work organisation committed to serving all young people in a safe, fun and positive environment, through the provision of youth spaces, services, mentoring, training and ongoing opportunities for their holistic development, and by advocating for their needs.

Our Vision

For all young people to be valued and supported to achieve their full potential as participating members of the community.

Our Values

Young person-centred, Rights-based, Empowering, Inclusive, Respectful, Non-judgemental

Guiding Principle

Youth Participation is at the heart of everything we do with and on behalf of young people.


  1. Support young people in Kerry to reach their full potential.
  2. Establish ourselves as an independent young person-centred charity.
  3. Provide targeted and integrated supports for young people and their families in Kerry.
  4. Be recognised as a centre of excellence for youth work.
  5. Strengthen our governance, management and internal coordination.
  6. Be an organisation that enables staff and volunteers to deliver and to develop.

KDYS Strategic Plan 2023 – 2026

Click Here to Read more of our Strategic Goals


According to Irelands Youth work Act of 2001, Youth Work is “a planned programme of education designed for the purpose of aiding and enhancing the personal and social development of young people through their voluntary involvement, and which is complementary to their formal, academic or social education and training and provided primarily by voluntary youth work organisations.”
The definition of Youth Work has evolved over many years but to put it simply Youth Work provides many programmes and services designed to have the maximum impact on the development of young people.


KDYS provides a wide range of activities for all young people in our region. All programmes and services are based on a youth work approach which ensures that young people want to be involved and that by doing so their own development towards adulthood will benefit enormously. Our aim is to ensure that all of our activities result in Better Outcomes for young people in line with Irelands National Policy for Children and Young People.

We create programmes and opportunities so that young people can choose to get involved and participate. By doing so they will benefit from the guidance of professionally qualified staff and trained volunteers in Youth premises that have been specifically designed for, (and with), the young people themselves. It is vital that young people have fun and can join their friends in a safe space. It is also important that young people can access supports to help them to address the various issues they may be faced with as they grow up and critically it is essential that we help young people to develop their own resilience to ensure that they can make positive choices for themselves as they go through life.

KDYS was founded to make sure that the young people of the Diocese of Kerry have access to these supports and opportunities. Through the many programmes we offer and through our dedicated Youth Centres across the region KDYS is available to all young people, parents and communities to discuss what options are best for you.


1971. Kerry Diocesan Youth Service was founded with the appointment of Father Roger Kelliher as Diocesan Youth Director

1972.The First meeting of all youth clubs in the Diocese was held. From this meeting an executive committee for clubs was appointed and shortly after KDYS affiliated to the national Youth Federation of Youth clubs

1972-1980. Development of youth work in Kerry starts to progress with dedicated staff joining KDYS to train youth club leaders and develop youth supports across the diocese

1981-2022. In 1981 the organisation was restructured to encompass growth and development of youth work around the diocese. A new policy group was established within the organisation to allow for the Youth club Executive to focus exclusively on youth Clubs. This restructuring laid the pathway for KDYS to develop youth centres across the county of Kerry and deliver a range of programmes that focus on the development of young peoples’ mental and physical well being. In the 1980s the organisation was established as a charity limited by guarantee.

2023 – Present Day. A voluntary board of directors currently leads the organisation. KDYS employs over 70 full and part-time staff dedicated to supporting over 4,000 young people and over 450 volunteers who have led over 22 Youth Clubs around the county, with 931 of young people in these Youth Clubs. We had 427 volunteers who supported Youth Clubs and 47 volunteers who supported Youth Mentoring. 4,146 young people have engaged with our programmes, such as KEY, UBU, Youth Mentoring, Killorglin Youth Centre, Youth Information and Cróige. The KDYS social media had reached over 167,000 people during the year! KDYS has a strong history as one of the leading youth work organisations in the country being involved in numerous pioneering pieces of work and pilot projects that have had a hugely positive impact on the development of youth work in Kerry and in Ireland.


KDYS provides options for all young people. These include fun activities, recreational opportunities as well as services that assist young people and families to respond to challenges that they may face growing up in Ireland. The youth work approach is central to everything we do and the activities we deliver result in very positive outcomes for young people. Our activities aim to equip young people to fully participate in their communities and to make positive choices resulting in better mental and physical health, have access to education, training and job opportunities and to be more active citizens in a society where they are supported to make important transitions in their lives.

All KDYS youth work is quality approved and is available to all young people and parents. Our activities are available in the local community, in our centres as well as in schools throughout the Diocese. The work of KDYS is entirely informed by what the young people of our region need and their full participation is key to directing the activities of the Youth Service.


KDYS is a voluntary youth work organisation founded by the Diocese of Kerry. It is led by a voluntary Board of Directors who receive no remuneration for their involvement. Our Youth Work is delivered by professionally qualified staff supporting fully trained volunteers. The activities of KDYS are directed by the needs of young people in our region and programmes are designed to develop the strengths that exist in all young people resulting in better outcomes for them.


All services provided for young people cost money. The objective of KDYS is to ensure that the priorities for young people in our region are met to meet their needs. KDYS receives grant aid from Government to deliver certain services. In line with Government policy this funding is aimed at specific youth issues.

KDYS provides Youth spaces and recreational opportunities for thousands of young people each year. To do this we are heavily reliant on fund-raising. The key aim of KDYS is to make sure all young people have access to youth facilities and services and that cost would not be the barrier to accomplishing that.


Contact KDYS Youth Information, because KDYS is here to ensure that young people and their parents have maximum support through the growing up years. KDYS is always open to responding to the needs of young people and communities. We invite anyone to come and talk to us and explore how we can ensure that our area is the best place in Ireland for a young person to grow up. We work with everyone from schools to agencies etc. and our door is always open.