Offaly teenagers shortlisted for social innovator awards

Justin Kelly

Reporter:

Justin Kelly

Email:

news@offalyexpress.ie

Three Offaly teams are among those shortlisted for the upcoming Young Social Innovators of the Year Awards.

The Offaly finalists are Tullamore College for 'Concussion: Test, Rest, Back to your Best,' Tullamore College for 'Busy Bees'
and Ard Scoil Chiarain Naofa for 'Raise The A Game.'

31 teams of student innovators from all over Ireland have been shortlisted to compete for the title of Young Social Innovators of the Year 2019 at a national finale to be held in Croke Park on Wednesday, May 15. The high impact innovations, developed by young people to address an identified social need, were shortlisted from over 370 initial entries.

Youth mental health, climate change, plastic pollution, sexual consent, dementia awareness, community regeneration, loneliness and isolation, and technology addiction are just some of the issues that have been tackled by this year’s finalists.

At the Young Social Innovators Awards, shortlisted teams will present their projects to judging panels and compete for awards in a number of categories as well as the coveted Gold, Silver and Bronze national titles.

Having surveyed their student body and realised the lack of awareness that existed around the danger of concussion in sport, the team “Concussion: Test, Rest, Back to your Best” from Tullamore College chose to educate their fellow students on how to deal with a concussion. They designed informational cards, produced a video, invited guest speakers to the school and began the process of designing an instruction course for referees which they plan to work on in the future. 

“Busy Bees” from Tullamore College want to create a bee-friendly environment in their local area and in the school. They spoke to Geraldine Byrne, chairperson of the Offaly Beekeeper Association, about their project and she invited them to learn more at an upcoming talk.

They invited a local beekeeper to come to the school to talk to young people and staff, they made and sold raffle tickets for hampers to raise money to build bee boxes, they visited an apiary, made bee packs with many different bee related items and sold them in different places. The variety of actions they undertook for their project shows how passionate they were about the issue.

Autism was very close to the hearts of the young people on the team ‘Raise The A Game’. To help achieve their goal of encouraging inclusivity in school for all students, they invited Adam Harris of Autism and Me to address the school and local community. They collaborated with Laois and Offaly Families for Autism and we have so far raised €2,000 for them.

Over 6,000 teenagers from all over Ireland took part in Young Social Innovators this year creating and implementing innovative solutions to social issues facing communities and wider society.

Announcing the shortlist, Rachel Collier, CEO said: “It is wonderful to see such a wide range of issues being tackled by this year’s finalists. This generation of young people are very aware of the issues affecting young people and local communities and they are demonstrating a real commitment to being part of the solution; this year alone, 157,000 hours in volunteering was carried out by teenagers engaged in our programmes."

"Young Social Innovators gives young people an opportunity to use their insights, passion and creativity to tackle the issues they feel are important and to help contribute towards creating a better future for all of us."

For more information, see www.youngsocialinnovators.ie