Barryroe and Ballineen Foróige Clubs were among a group of six elite youth groups from around the country who showcased their community projects at the ‘Foróige Youth Citizenship Awards 2013’ held at Dublin Castle this week.
Barryroe’s project was a Citizens Information Board as a focal point to promote local history, activities and scenic walks for resident and visitors alike to enjoy around the local Seven Heads peninsula, while Ballineen’s project was ‘Le Chéile Fest’, a major festival involving all voluntary organisations in the Ballineen area.
The Barryroe project was conceived as part of the Foróige Youth Citizenship Programme, an out-of-school programme which teaches young people how their community works and encourages and supports them in real live citizenship work which makes a difference to the lives of others. The project was inspired by happy childhood memories of playing in their local playground, which the teens acknowledged had gone into disrepair and was in need of an upgrade.
Ballineen’s project, inspired by a stump in volunteering and active engagement by community groups in the area, involved a multi-pronged approach to restore pride and unite the entire community of Ballineen. Elements of the project included establishing a common and welcoming meeting room for use by all community groups in the area, a community face-lift in co-operation with the Tidy Towns committee, a new playground project with children’s activities including a Santa Grotto and kids games. To recognise and heroes of their community, the young people also established a community awards programme and Gala dinner which honoured the courage and dedication of local community activists. The youth’s efforts culminated in the major festival involving all community groups including the Civil Defence, local soccer, GAA and calorie clubs, the heritage group, B.E.D.A, the fit for fun group and the tidy towns committee.
Kate Dullea, Barryroe Club member speaking on behalf of the group said “Our community benefited greatly from our project. We provided information on new walking routes, exciting places of interest, historical facts and figures and a fitness plan which encourages locals and visitors alike to get active and explore and learn more about the parish. You can never know enough about your own area.”
Megan O Regan, Ballineen Club member speaking on behalf of the group said “This is an amazing achievement and we are really proud. Before we undertook this project we thought that there was a lack of pride and spirit in our community and this disappointed us. However, through working and engaging and leading our community we now realise that this pride and passion was always there. It just took our group to stir things up, bring organisations together and celebrate the best of what our community has to offer.”