There is huge excitement and enthusiasm amongst the children and young people of Longford and Westmeath, who recently participated in the Longford Westmeath CYPSC, Child and Youth Participation Project.
Approximately 400 children and young people, aged three to twenty four years of age, participated in the project, the aim of which is to capture the voice of children and young people across the two midlands counties.
This is to inform the CYPSC’s upcoming Children and Young People’s Plan and in turn provide the young people of Longford and Westmeath with a meaningful input into services for Children and Young People in their local area.
This project was overseen by the Child and Youth Participation Subgroup of the Longford Westmeath (LW) CYPSC. This group is an excellent example of interagency working at its best, across all age cohorts, and across two counties. The group comprises of eight partners, namely the Family Resource Centres, Tusla, Longford County Childcare Committee, Foroige, Barnardos, Youth Work Ireland Midlands, Westmeath and Longford Comhairle na nÓg and the Westmeath Local Community Development Committee.
It was clear from the outset, that to capture the voice of such a broad age range, this group would need to be creative in how best to engage with the children and young people. It was therefore decided to divide the young people into two age brackets, and devise age appropriate workshops, based on the five national outcomes.
An art therapist worked with the younger age group (3 – 12 years) in family resource centres, crèches, preschools, and afterschool clubs across the two counties. The children created Art pieces which represented their dreams, hopes and inspirations, and highlighted what was important to them and what mattered most in their lives. Workshops for the 12-24 age group were also held in Longford and Westmeath using a World Café Style. These workshops were facilitated by the Longford and Westmeath Comhairle na nÓg members and proved to be a huge success amongst the young people, with a wealth of feedback for the LW CYPSC as a result.
The project was also recently evaluated for the Investing in Children Award and has been successful receiving the Investing in Children Membership Award. It was amazing to see so many children and young people, of all ages, and from across the two counties, come together on the evaluation day; a day that was immensely enjoyed by all in attendance, and a day where the young people themselves were recommending that LW CYPSC receive the Investing in Children Award.
A full report on the findings from this project is currently being collated, as well as a video clip from the workshops and will be made available on the Longford Westmeath CYPSC webpage on their completion. It is fair to say, that this project has brought immense energy and motivation to both the children and young people, and to the LW CYPSC and we look forward to the continued collaborative work by this subgroup with the young people of Longford and Westmeath.
To read more from Longford/ Westmeath CYPSC Click here
To read about another CYPSC Click here