Top Teens
Superb Citizens

“ The sense of duty and service you see in the Citizenship Awards blows me away…They give us faith in the future, in Ireland’s future.”


The permanent tsb Foróige Youth Citizenship Programme is a youth development programme that empowers young people to use their talents and initiative to make a positive difference to the world around them. It involves young people in researching the needs of their community, organising practical action in response, evaluating the effectiveness of their work and reflecting on what they’re learning along the way.

It was a case of Lights, Camera, Action on November 1st 2011 as Ireland’s Top Teens took to the stage at Dublin’s Helix Theatre for the finals of the permanent tsb Foróige Youth Citizenship Awards.

The star studded event was screened on TV3 as part of two prime time specials based on the youth citizenship programme. After performances by Jedward, former Foróige member Ryan Sheridan and Britain’s Got Talent dance stars Flawless, messages of support were sent to all the finalists from famous faces such as Louis Walsh, Laura Whitmore, Michael Flatley, Bernard Brogan and Mary Byrne. Irish rock legend Bono summed up the feelings of everyone present when he addressed the spectacular event via video-link.

“ When I was a teenager all I wanted was to be in a band and for my girlfriend Ali not to run off with the Edge. The sense of duty and service you see in the Citizenship Awards blows me away. These young people are taking on a kind of social entrepreneurship with smart ideas, creative ideas, great ideas for community groups from kids to grandparents, from Mulhuddart to Zambia. They give us faith in the future, in Ireland’s future.” Bono

In 2011, almost 12,000 young people took part in the permanent tsb Foróige youth citizenship programme and gave their free time to design and implement projects that enriched communities across Ireland and overseas.

Following a nail-biting finale, the Foróige Attic Youth Café in Longford town was unveiled as the overall winner with a recession busting Discount Card encouraging young people to shop local in return for a 10% discount in participating local stores. We caught up with Attic member Fiona Leahy to see how the initiative has been going since the group won the coveted title.

“It has been amazing! The idea of the discount card has really gone from strength to strength. We have now expanded it beyond Longford Town and more and more businesses are signing up to it every day - so it is obviously working for them.”

It is also really benefiting the young people of the town too. A 10% discount can make a real difference. It can be the deciding factor as to whether you go ahead and buy something or not. At our age we don’t have a lot of spare cash so it is great to get the odd bargain. The whole experience has been amazing and it has really built our confidence and brought us closer together.”

The discount card also continues to be a big hit within the Longford business community. According to Niall Brewster of Bru’s Fancy Dress in Longford Town.

“ Anything that helps our business during times like these is a good thing. We have definitely seen an increase in our turnover since the discount card was introduced and I’ve noticed lots more young people coming through the doors. It keeps business local which is also very welcome. It just goes to show that the young people really are the backbone of our communities.”

Here is a run-down of the projects that made it to the final ten of the permanent tsb Foróige Youth Citizenship Awards in 2011:

Ardagh Foróige Club, Co. Mayo
An interactive road safety awareness project.

Spiddal Foróige Club, Co. Galway
A fundraising project for an Orphanage in Kaoma, Zambia.

Mini-Crotchets Peer Led Group, Co. Donegal
A music and drama summer camp for 10 to12 year olds and people with intellectual disabilities.

Southend Family Resource Centre Youth Group, Co. Wexford
A traditional boat building project to discourage anti-social behaviour and restore community pride.

Rathnew Legends, Co. Wicklow
A technology workshop for older people in the community.

Fiat 500 Group, Dublin 15
A road safety project focusing on the dangers of speeding and joyriding.

NRG Youth Group, Co. Clare
A domestic violence awareness campaign.

Kinsale Foróige Club, Co. Cork
A water safety project.

Balbriggan Youth Service, Co. Dublin
An alcohol free music festival promoting positive mental health.

Get Active in Your Community in 2012
2012 promises to be another very exciting year for the permanent tsb Foróige Youth Citizenship Awards! In what will be a brand new departure for the programme, all of the groups that enter will get to showcase their projects under one roof at Dublin’s RDS on July 1st 2012.
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