Westmeath Comhairle na nÓg held their AGM on Wednesday October 27 in Bloomfield House Hotel, Mullingar to a large gathering of over 80 young people representing schools and clubs throughout County Westmeath. The AGM was hosted by Westmeath Co Co and facilitated by the Midland Regional Youth Services. The proceedings were presided over by a group of young people who spent the last two months planning and developing the structure of the day.
Westmeath Comhairle na nÓg was established in 2002 under the auspices of the County Development Board, managed by Westmeath County Council. Comhairle na nÓg provides a forum for young people and children to discuss local and national issues that affect their lives. The Comhairle is youth led and takes direction on the issues that affect young people, usually at a local level.
Cllr Mick Dollard Cathaoirleach of Westmeath County Council, warmly welcomed the young people, county councillors, and representatives of agencies who attended including the HSE, the VEC, RAPID, Foroige, and the MRYS. He emphasised the importance of young people being active in society and having their voice heard. He congratulated the Comhairle members on the work they have carried out to date including the development and publishing of an alcohol leaflet which was endorsed by the Department of Education and Science and included in the 2010 Junior Certificate CSPE curriculum, and the establishment of a multi-agency committee in Mullingar to address the need for a youth café. Furthermore, he stated “Westmeath Comhairle is a very dynamic and growing structure; this is because you here today, the youth of Westmeath, are involved, interested, and committed to making changes in Westmeath for yourselves and other young people.”
The Youth Development Officer of the VEC Maria Fox gave a presentation on the links between the VEC and the Comhairle. Maria stressed the need for youth to be supported and accredited the youth sector for the commitment that has been shown to the youth in the county. Maria also gave examples of her own role within the VEC and the support that comes with this role including small grants for youth clubs which can help develop the work of the club and the young people who are active within these clubs.
The activities of the day included round table discussions on crime, health issues and the Junior Cert curriculum, followed in the afternoon by workshops on risk reduction facilitated by the GardaI, personal health facilitated by the HSE, mental health facilitated by Mental Health Ireland and personal care facilitated by the MRYS.
The formalities of the AGM were preceded by facilitated discussions on what issues the Comhairle na nÓg members wished to prioritise for 2010 – 2011. The day was brought to an end by the formal election of the new Comhairle na nOg executive who will remain in place for the term 2010 – 2011.
Westmeath County Council would like to extend their thanks to all youth people from Comhairle na nÓg, the members of the Comhairle na nÓg agency support committee and the Midlands Regional Youth Service staff who helped facilitate the day and in particular Edweena Dully, facilitator.
For more information log on to www.westmeathcoco.ie