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Donegal youth council celebrates roadshow success

Youth Councillors having fun at end of roadshow.

Youth Councillors having fun at end of roadshow.

DONEGAL Youth Councillors have been celebrating the success of their recent SPARKS Mental Health Roadshow, which saw them work with over 800 young people from all over the county.

The roadshow, which kicked off in Letterkenny on World Mental Health Day, also visited the Finn Valley Centre in Stranorlar, Ionad Naomh Padraig in Gaoth Dobhair, The Plaza in Buncrana and Abbey Hotel in Donegal Town during October and November. In total 24 of the 27 secondary schools in the county participated in the roadshows, as well as having participants from 4 different Youthreach centres.

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The Donegal Youth Council is a group of 36 young people aged 12-18 years, who identify issues and promote projects to improve the lives of young people in Donegal. Youth Councillors have been responsible for the development of the roadshow events, which were developed following extensive research and consultation with their peers. They offered information and advice on how to manage stress in your life and other difficult situations and how to be more aware of what supports you have around you and how you can be a support to others.

Aine McLaughlin, who is the Mayor of the Donegal Youth Council, said the Youth Councillors are delighted with how the roadshow has been received. “It has been a really big piece of work which began last April at a residential in Gartan and to see our ideas come to reality was really great. We wanted each of the 5 events to have a focus on fun, but with providing some vital messages around mental health. We were involved in every single aspect of making it happen so myself and we are really proud of how it all went. We are really grateful to all the different organisations and individuals who bought into what we wanted to do and from the feedback received it has definitely inspired people.”

The event had a huge input from a range of organisations, including Jigsaw, Donegal Youth Service, Letterkenny Youth and Family Service and Mental Health Ireland, with other guest speakers from the wider community who have each conquered their own personal challenges in life, such as Mount Everest conqueror Jason Black, Donegal footballer Mark McHugh, Open Sea swimmer Anne Marie Ward and Cycle for Suicide Ambassador Breifne Earley.

The Donegal Youth Council is funded by the Donegal County Council, HSE Health Promotion and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, and is co-ordinated at local level by the Donegal Youth Service.

Jason Black speaks to the crowd in Buncrana.

Jason Black speaks to the crowd in Buncrana.

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