The Aldi Foróige Youth Citizenship Awards took place in Citywest Hotel and Conference Centre recently where some 2,300 young people from throughout Ireland showcased their work in the community. Two hundred and four groups took part in the awards with projects covering topics such as equality; homelessness; mental health; and culture.
Ardagh Foróige Club won a silver star award for their project helping the local hospital; and Mayo Comhairle na nÓg won a bronze star award for making a website to connect young people with potential employers.
The Ardagh Forógie groups project identified key needs at a local hospital after organising a series of visits there. As well as giving lonely patients gifts for Christmas, they also raised funds through a raffle and 'bed push' event to fully equip family rooms with furniture and catering facilities. On evaluation the young people expressed great pride at helping to improve the lives of those in hospital and they also recognised its importance.
The Mayo Comhairle na nÓg project identified the need for more meaningful work experience for young people after hosting its AGM. After gaining consensus on focusing on this issue the group decided to make a website linking young people to potential employers. This process included researching suitable web platforms and using the technical ability of the members to link it in with social media. The young people were at the centre of organising the ins and outs of the website including video production, web design, information research, and online promotion.
Sean Campbell, CEO of Foróige, said: “With the support of Aldi the Youth Citizenship Programme has gone from strength to strength. This programme empowers young people to make positive change in the world through examining their local community, coming up with a way to make it a better place and then working hard to make it happen.
“We are so proud of everything these young people have achieved in their communities and it’s wonderful to see all the skills they’ve gathered in the process. From planting a flowerbed, to renovating a community kitchen, to building a recording studio and making a memorial from a WWII aeroplane; these young people have gained essential life skills whilst making the world a better place."