Event Name: Creativity in Youth Work Fair
Event Location: Kilbride Community Centre, Fourmilehouse Co. Roscommon
Event Date: 8th October 2016
“Creativity in Youth Work Fair Steals the Show”
Members of our YEA Regional Alliance in attendance at the Multiplier Event
Youth work, budding entrepreneurship and artistic endeavour were just a flavour of what was explored at Roscommon’s landmark Creativity in Youth Work Fair hosted by Roscommon LEADER Partnership. These keynote topics were explored in full, in a multidisciplinary approach, by our guest speakers within youth, enterprise and arts at the event in Kilbride Community Centre on Saturday 8th October.
Erasmus Project Manager Amanda Mee welcomed the influx of speakers, exhibitors and public to the milestone event and stated that “today is a unique day for the people of Roscommon and indeed neighbouring counties as this event is the first of its kind to take place.” She added, “I am particularly delighted to welcome all exhibitors and guest speakers, some of whom have travelled long distances to be here with us today.”
Addressing the large gathering that converged on the parish of Kilbride that morning included special guest and Juvenile Liaison Officer (JLO) for Roscommon Fergal O’Donnell. Mr O’Donnell opened and launched the Youth Work Fair, a landmark achievement both from a personal perspective and for County Roscommon. He stressed the need for youth leaders and people who use their initiative to try something new. This was translated to his love for Gaelic football and the creativeness of some of the game’s most iconic figures. He employed a striking analogy of the 2006 Roscommon minor team’s rise to success, 10 years ago, after their all-Ireland final win with that of a young person’s hopes, dreams and ambitions in life.
The Youth Work Fair is an outcome of the EU Erasmus+ funded project, Youth Enterprise through Arts (YEA) which spans for two years and encompasses 6 partners from 4 different countries. The Pan-European project works collaboratively with partners from Northern Ireland (Dungannon Enterprise Centre), France and Malta. The Irish project partners include Roscommon LEADER Partnership and the Leitrim-based training and development organisation Momentum, with involvement from Roscommon County Council (Local Enterprise Office and Arts Office), Galway and Roscommon Education and Training Board (GRETB), Youth Work Ireland, Tusla, Foróige, Scouting Ireland and Comhairle na nÓg respectively. Youth Enterprise through Arts as a concept has been recognised at EU level and, thus, has been funded through the EU Erasmus+ programme.
With an illustrious line-up of speakers, the Youth Work Fair was a magnet attraction for youth workers, budding entrepreneurs and persons devoted to the arts. Kilbride Community Centre was the perfect environment for Roscommon LEADER Partnership’s multi-faceted event encompassing speakers and, also, showcasing what Roscommon clubs and organisations has to offer. A total of 37 clubs and organisations poured into Kilbride Community Centre for networking and relaying their experiences on the day.
Allanna Collins, lead partner in the project from Dungannon Enterprise Centre gave a very informative speech on the project and its outcomes to date.
Clubs and organisations travelled from afar to attend the milestone event. Foróige, National Youth Council of Ireland, Youth Work Ireland and Scouting Ireland are just a flavour of the clubs and youth organisations that attended on the day. The enlightening, free event was made even more beneficial when each delegate who attended received a free goodie bag to aid their work within the youth sector.
The fair was divided into three distinct sections: 1) Youth Entrepreneurs; 2) Best Practice in Youth Enterprise and Arts; & 3) Access to Finance. In the midst of the line-up of speakers was the national launch of the Youth Enterprise through Arts toolkit.
Illustrious young entrepreneurs who have etched their identity in the world of creative industry shared valuable insights. Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) 2015 winner Enda Mahon delivered an emotive and inspiring story of how he overcame personal difficulties to develop ground-breaking technology to ensure safer practices in the pipe laying industry. Founder and CEO of ProGrip Systems Ltd., Mr Mahon believes youth have the ability to surpass any personal strains so long as they believe in their own ability and define their vision.
The eclectic mix of young entrepreneurs included Neil Patrick Collins, a budding entrepreneur who detailed his experience to date as an innovator in the fashion business. Mr Collins, in recent years, has put his stamp on the fashion industry by pioneering his fashion brand Cryptic Clique. His eccentric look has made him one of Ireland’s most exciting prospects in the fashion industry.
Catherine Simon, founder and artistic director of Drama Works Ireland, attended on the day to impregnate her knowledge of the arts sector in the county to the audience. From the bustling city of Belfast to the rural plains of Kilbride, Aisling Cartmill made the trek from the Belfast Unemployment Resource Centre (BURC) to deliver a very fitting pitch on the importance of building successful networks among clubs and organisations.
Dr Philip Tyndall from Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) provided the one hundred plus delegates on the day with a presentation on building resilience in youth work. Dr Tyndall drew on his wealth of experience and knowledge in an area that he feels passionately about to enthral the audience. Colleen Fahey of the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) gave insights into why we need to support and mind our youth and the best practice in doing so. Roscommon County Council Arts Officer Mary Mullins spoke of promoting the work of young artists in the county by establishing the correct environments to stimulate their minds creatively.
A section of the Youth Work Fair was devoted to lending bodies within County Roscommon.
Access to finance is a vital ingredient in most clubs and organisations and this is no different with youth workers who have a vision of what they want to achieve. To unlock these avenues, representatives from Roscommon LEADER Partnership, Roscommon Local Enterprise Office, Youth Bank, AIB and Bank of Ireland all made pitches to youth workers, youth clubs and organisations in attendance.
A handmade mandala, using a selection of materials sourced naturally, proved a huge success on the day. This created a forum for groups to interact and network. Little Rainbow Ireland provided the entertainment for participants from the public, clubs and organisations alike.
The Youth Enterprise through Arts national toolkit was officially launched by Michael Kelly, youth officer from GRETB. The YEA toolkit was established to develop a regional alliance and is designed to support partners and stakeholders to actively engage in the development of the Youth Enterprise through Arts project to achieve sustainable improvements in the quality of youth work.
An action which spawned from our local regional alliance was to update the 2010 version of the Youth Services Directory in County Roscommon. To mark the momentous occasion, a draft version of the Youth Services Directory was launched at the Youth Work Fair. This bespoke hard copy version was compiled and updated by Roscommon LEADER Partnership with the aid of Roscommon Comhairle na nÓg and GRETB.
Roscommon LEADER Partnership would like to cordially thank Kilbride Community Centre for providing a great environment for hosting the event and all our sponsors and contributors who added to our goodie bags.
The principle aim of the Youth Enterprise through Arts project is to promote entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship among young people by integrating entrepreneurship training into youth services in the field of creative, performing and digital arts. By hosting this landmark Creativity in Youth Work Fair, Roscommon LEADER Partnership believe that this type of milestone event for County Roscommon can become sustainable long into the future and solidify networks among youth clubs and organisations.