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Cork Matters Project Case Study

Youth Participation Model - Cork Matters

youth participation cork

The ‘Cork Matters’ project was commenced by the ISPCC in Cork in 2017, with the aim of identifying issues facing particular communities and of coming together both to address these and to celebrate all the great things about living in these areas.

Ballincollig and Youghal, two Cork towns where the views of residents appear not to be regularly highlighted, were chosen to be the focus of the ‘Cork Matters’ project.

The project was funded by Tusla Seed Funding for Children and Young People’s Participation. 

The ISPCC used its learning and experience from its previous consultation project ‘Douglas Matters’ in the formulation of the project plan. The ISPCC wanted to ensure we had a child-centred approach to the project and were delighted to have our Children’s Advisory COmmittee (CAC) in Cork play a key role in the design and implementation of the project. 

Planning Stages

ISPCC staff and advocacy volunteers spent several months listening to children, young people, parents, carers and community members from both areas to find out more about the key strengths and key challenges facing children and young people living in Youghal and Ballincollig. Face-to-face group sessions and interviews were carried out, while the Survey Monkey online tool was utilised to increase reach.

Once sufficient data had been gathered in relation to the key challenges, the team set about organising two ‘World Cafés’. The purpose of these World Cafés was to give children and young people – as well as adults associated with the two communities – the opportunity to share their views around the changes they felt would assist their areas.

Ballincollig World Café

Topics explored at the Ballincollig World Café included: Social Media and Bullying; Education Support and Academic Pressure; Non-Sporting Facilities for Hanging Out; Drug and Alcohol Misuse, Family Support and Mental Health.   

Recommendations which arose from those present included:

  • That a ‘Staying Safe Online’ code of conduct should be drawn up
  • That low-cost technology-free homework and study zones be provided in the area
  • That a diverse range of activities be offered to young people locally
  • That tougher laws be introduced on buying alcohol
  • That a ‘buddy system’ be put in place locally to provide support for parents
  • That schools promote mental health over the year for all school years

Youghal World Café

Topics explored at the Youghal Youth Café included: Employment and Opportunities for Young People; Drug and Alcohol Misuse; Not Enough Support for Young People and Families in Youghal; Youghal Town, A Space to Hang Out for Older Teens and Access to Mental Health Services.

Recommendations which arose from those present included:

  • That local tourism would be promoted to stimulate job growth
  • That local individuals become ‘Champions’ or role models for young people in the area to help prevent drug or alcohol misuse
  • That confidence and resilience-building workshops be offered
  • That art projects be facilitated, with a view towards helping to boost community spirit
  • That ways to gain work and life experience be highlighted through courses and workshops
  • That initiatives be put in place to brighten up Youghal town

The World Cafés produced a set of key recommended initiatives and suggestions from participants as to what they felt would improve life for children, young people and families in the communities of Ballincollig and Youghal.

The Cork Matters Project Report, which highlights all of the key recommendations which arose in both areas throughout the process, was published in 2018. It was subsequently presented to the Cork Children’s and Young Person’s Services Committee.

The ‘Cork Matters’ project sparked the inspiration for the subsequent ‘Resilience Matters’ event, which took place in late 2018.

The Cork Matters Project was funded by Tusla Seed Funding for Children and Young People’s Participation. We would like to thank Joanne Walsh, Participation and Partnership Officer, and Catherine O’Donoghue, for their support.

The ISPCC would like to thank the young people of the ISPCC’s Children’s Advisory Committee in Cork for their ongoing commitment to and support of the project.

Several ISPCC advocacy volunteers gave considerable time and effort to this project: Olive Downey, Maria Flynn, Lucy Aughney and particular acknowledgement must go to Alexandra Clifton for her dedication and commitment to the project from beginning to end.