Congratulations to all of our finalists who have carried out transformative, important work in their communities. They are an inspiration to everyone.
Announcing the finalists, Foróige's Head of Training Gerry McDonald said the standard of entries was extremely high this year and there was great variety in the projects.
"It is heartening to see that the Foróige Citizenship Programme is alive and well and living in communities all across Ireland. The standard of projects was extremely high this year and the team of judges found it extremely difficult to settle on the 8 finalists. A big well done to everybody who participated in the programme and entered the awards this year."
Barnacarroll Foróige Club, Co Mayo
A Cystic Fibrosis and Organ-Donation Awareness Project
“The measure of my life is not what I accumulate but what I give away,” is the slogan behind Barnacarroll Foróige Club’s Citizenship Project.
The group wanted to promote organ donation and awareness of cystic fibrosis, which is Ireland's most common genetically inherited disease.
Through research, the group discovered that Mayo has the highest incidence of the disease per capita in the country and the only cure is organ transplantation.
Their project was triple-pronged – they raised €3,500 to help build a dedicated Cystic Fibrosis unit in Mayo General Hospital, they designed an Organ Donor Card for local school children to raise awareness of organ donation and they also held a special ceremony at a local lake where a plaque was unveiled honoring two local people who had donated their organs.
“Live Life, Give Life” became the motto of the group.
Killeevan Foróige Club, Co Monaghan
An innovate ‘bed-push’ fundraising project
The young people in Killeevan Foróige Club pushed themselves to the limits with an innovative fundraising drive for Temple Street Children’s Hospital.
The group organized a 32K ‘bed push’ to raise much needed funds for the hospital’s Craniofacial Department. Two club members have a sister with a very rare craniofacial genetic disorder called Apert Syndrome and little Jessica receives ongoing care and treatment at the hospital.
They group organised every aspect of the fundraising drive – from deciding the route to sourcing a suitable bed to finding out more about the work of the Craniofacial Department so they could raise awareness about its important work in their community. The group succeeded in raising €2,715 for the hospital.
“We now realise the struggle of families who have to live with day to day health issues. In much needed times, the community comes together to support one another and this could be seen in our project,” the group said.
Foróige SUB Garda Youth Diversion Project, Co Offaly
A film project to promote positive mental health
“We know young people who have committed suicide or who have attempted suicide so we really wanted to create a project about depression that would really make a difference to young people.” So say the young people in the Foróige SUB Garda Youth Diversion Project.
Their project focused on raising awareness of the issue of suicide and promoting positive mental health amongst young people.
The group wrote, produced, directed and performed in a short film which highlighted the impact of suicide on individuals and communities.
They researched the short film by handing around questionnaires to their peers asking them what makes them feel depressed, sad, worried or feel down.
Their film focused on four themes - drugs misuse, financial worries, gangland crime and violence. In their treatment and handling of the topic of suicide, the group consulted with their local mental health promotion unit on the script of the film.
Working with a drama coach, they created a hard-hitting and thought provoking film which they filmed over three days. The film is to be played during Offaly Mental Health Week to raise awareness of the issues portrayed.
WEB Girls and Boys, Dublin 15
A massive Traveller-site clean-up project
The young people in the Web Girls and Boys group in Dublin 15 set about enhancing their Traveller site by mobilising their community to take part in the biggest ever site cleanup in the area.
For the previous two years, two of the Traveller sites in Mulhuddart and Ballycoolin had become a dumping ground for a huge amount of rubbish and domestic waste. People in the wider community had become very concerned about the unsightly mess, the increase in vermin and the negative image being portrayed of their area.
The young people in the group, who live on the sites, wanted to do something about it and set about re-invigorating community pride in their area. They worked with local families and liaised with the local council around the clean-up, which resulted in improved relationships between the two.
The group now plans to further enhance their area by growing plants and flower beds for their community to enjoy.
“There are no rats now. We had the young, the old, the brave and the bold and the very bold all helping.
“It was a big achievement with everyone on the site taking action for themselves by coming together, working as a team and taking action for the community,” the group said of their project.
Ratoath Foróige Club, Co Meath
A ‘Path to Health’ community enhancement project
The young people of Ratoath Foróige Club wanted to promote physical fitness in their village – all while bringing their community together.
The group realised there were no safe walking routes in their area and set the change in motion to create a 4km walk featuring signage and lighting.
They raised €3,000 for signage, printing and a mapboard by asking local businesses to sponsor the project. They also met with a local historian so they could earmark local historical points of interest along the route.
The route is called ‘Path to Health’ and has been a huge hit in the community to date.
“We wanted to create a lasting legacy and I think we’ve achieved that,” the group said of their project.
The Swamp Foróige Club, Dublin 6W
A rock concert project in aid of charity
The young people in the SWAMP Foróige Club decided to ROCK OUT for their local community by organising an exciting Band Showcase 2.0 music event.
The group felt there was a huge interest in music in their community but there were few outlets where up and coming local bands could perform. They also wanted to provide a great local drug and alcohol free event that their peers could enjoy.
The group organised every aspect of the event – they booked a venue, tickets, advertising, stage production, sound and lighting. They also promoted the event through local media.
Featuring eight young local bands, the concert was hailed a success after raising €1,000 for the suicide prevention charity Pieta House.
“We’ve very proud as the money we raised will allow a person to go through a full programme of counseling,” the group said of their achievement.
Loughglynn Foróige Club, Co Roscommon
A community genealogy and grave-mapping project
Young people from Loughglynn Foróige Club asked and answered the question ‘who do you think you are’ for tourists visiting their area looking for information on their family tree.
The club created a map of the locations of graves in their local cemetery as there was a huge interest from visitors and emigrants about their ancestry.
In putting the elements of their project together, they met with the graveyard committee, local councillors, the local priest, undertaker and grave diggers too. They then raised €1800 through a raffle to help fund their work.
They photographed every grave in Loughlynn cemetery, typed all the information into a spreadsheet and then created a map. They then uploaded all the data to the website irishgraveyards.ie so people searching for information on their ancestors could search the cemetery with ease.
"Anyone can go to the map now and find the grave they are looking for. We helped one man in particular to find his family’s grave. When we came across it, it was covered in grass. This man could remember his father telling him that the headstone was handmade with circular designs made like jar lids,” the group said of their project.
Artissimo’s Youth Group, Dublin 15
An anti-littering project to create a more family-friendly local park
“Everyone can play an important role in keeping our community clean” – so say the young people from the Artissimo’s Youth Group in Dublin 15.
The group developed a creative anti-littering project for their local park to combat issues such as fly-tipping, dog littering and joy-riding.
Following collaborations with Fingal County Council, the group designed creative anti-littering posters urging park-users to keep the area clean.
The bright colourful signs now enjoy pride of place at the entrance to Dromheath Park.
“Little things such as having a dirty local park can affect the whole community - if one person litters others are inclined to copy and litter too.
“With these signs, we are making a difference and are helping to create a lovely clean area for our whole community to enjoy,” the group said.