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Sligo Comhairle na nÓg

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Good relations project with Sligo Comhairle na nÓg and Local Gardaí

The theme for this project came up following the group’s AGM in 2017 where 100 young people from County Sligo were in attendance, discussing, among other things, the topic of personal safety and staying safe when out socialising. Through further discussion the group highlighted the preconceptions and stereotyping of teenagers by members of the Gardaí and vice versa and decided they would like to explore the topic further via research including surveys with teenagers in the County and the Gardaí.

To support and prepare the group to achieve the best outcomes in this project, Comhairle members took part in the Youth as Researchers Training Programme created by UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, NUIG.

They contacted the local Sergeant and met with the community Garda. During the meeting the following ideas were proposed.

• Devise and circulate a survey for teenagers (exploring attitudes to Gardaí, relations, approaching Gardaí when out etc)
• Devise and circulate a survey for members of An Garda Siochana
• Events to improve relations and increase visibility of local Gardaí in County Sligo.
• Organise visits from local Gardaí to schools in the county to talk to students about various topics and issues they identify through the surveys.

Surveys were administered online via schools and youth groups.

This project is ongoing. The group are continuing to link with the local Juvenile Liaison Officer, the Sligo Leitrim CYPSC Safeguarding Children and Young People’s Working Group and the local Gardaí to bring about the recommendations of the survey.

Additional work

A number of youth music events were organised in response to young people requesting more ways to socialise in a safe environment. The Comhairle group organised the events to take place in the local youth project, each event had 70 young people in attendance. They liaised with staff in the youth project and it is hoped that these events will become a more regular event for young people aged 15 – 18 years.

Participated in the Sligo Leitrim Children and Young People’s Participation Lab (CYPSC) which mapped best practice in involving young people in decision making within local services. Members of Sligo Comhairle na nÓg took part in the Tusla National Conference and facilitated a workshop highlighting their participation journey and the stages involved in meaningful participation by young people.

Work already completed

Sligo Comhairle commenced work on an intergenerational project in 2017 which is continuing to date. We are looking to break down barriers based on stereotypes between the older generation and younger; to share history, music, skills and to form friendships.

We also focused on mental health and well-being. We want to promote positive mental health and well-being through art and music and organised an event  for young people in County Sligo to promote art and music as ways to express and promote positive mental health.  We linked with Sligo Arts Office, The Model Art Gallery, Sligo, and the Creative Ireland Initiative

We hosted an online photography competition to promote positive mental health and link with the Youth Mental Health Initiative here in Sligo & Leitrim to develop a youth friendly app from the newly launched www.sligoleitrimdirectory.ie 

Sligo Comhairle hosted our #LetsGoMental2015 event on 8th August. This was one of the 31 regional events, forming part of the national ‘Lets Go Mental: do something for your mental health today’ campaign. Here is the link to our event page:

http://www.comhairlenanog.ie/lets-go-mental-sligo-08-08-2015/

In 2014 Comhairle na nÓg Sligo held an Open Day in the C.R.I.B. Youth Project & Health Café promoting positive mental well-being through music and the Fleadh Cheoil. The members also handed out important information promoting the services available in the local area. Comhairle na nÓg Sligo also entered the Irish Cancer Society X-hale awards with a two minute movie. X-HALE aims to get important messages out to young people in Ireland about the effects of smoking and discourage young people from taking up smoking.

Sligo Comhairle na nÓg have completed work in 2013 on the topic of ‘stereotyping of young people’. We focused on exploring different social groups in Sligo and how to overcome the labels that have been placed on them.  The group took part in workshops during which they looked at the current membership of their Comhairle – they discussed how best to reach young people who were not represented on the group and how to ensure they were including the views of as many young people as possible.

The group also took part in a four-part exchange with Belfast City Youth Council – this exchange focused on growing respect, reducing perceptions and stereotypes which exist between young people from Northern Ireland, as well as other religions and backgrounds. The exchange also provided an opportunity to share best practise and discuss the issues affecting young people on each side of the border.

Members of Sligo Comhairle na nÓg also participated in a cross border residential with a total of 5 youth groups including 3 others from Sligo and 2 from Northern Ireland. Additionally members of Sligo Comhairle met with members of the Protestant Community in Sligo (VEC Engage Project) – the purpose of this meeting was to break down barriers and to build relationships between the groups with a view to having a more diverse membership on the Comhairle.

We have also worked on the topic of Youth Mental Health in the past and developed the Sligo/Leitrim Youth Mental Health initiative which looks at the mental health services in both counties and at the gaps that exist.

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