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Imaginative Tipperary project promoting positivity triumphs at Aldi Foróige Youth Citizenship Awards

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Imaginative Tipperary project promoting positivity triumphs at Aldi Foróige Youth Citizenship Awards

Positivity Pages winning project members Shana Mansfield, Nicole Vaughan, Kyle Walsh and Sophie Telford at the Aldi Foróige Youth Citizenship Awards in Dublin

A County Tipperary project promoting positivity has won a national young citizens award.

Four young people from Carrick-on-Suir produced a youth newspaper with a focus on being positive and looking after your mental health. Their imaginative entry won the major accolade at the Aldi Foróige Youth Citizenship Awards in Dublin and there to accept the award were Shana Mansfield, Nicole Vaughan, Kyle Walsh and Sophie Telford.

Five Tipperary projects were celebrated at the gala event, with two more from Carrick-on-Suir and two from Nenagh. This year is the 15th anniversary of the youth citizenship programme, which was first run by Foróige in 1969. Projects this year focused on improving entrants local communities in areas such as equality, homelessness, climate change, social inclusion, community events, mental health and culture.

The winning Carrick team were motivated to take action because of three tragedies in their town. The group felt that young people were often surrounded by negativity through the media, in the community, through their own thoughts and online. They started their own monthly newspaper called Positivity Pages to highlight the positive achievements of young people and to raise self-esteem, create a sense of belonging and build confidence in the abilities of their peers. They got sponsorship for the printing of the paper and it was inserted into a local newspaper.

“We learned that we can achieve anything if we really put our minds to it”, one of the winners said.

In a second Carrick-on-Suir entry, the Young Women's Group spoke with the elderly people in their own lives, and discovered that some elderly people find it difficult to use smart phones and tablets. Inspired by this, the girls organised an information morning with baked treats and tea. In pairs, they showed elderly people phone skills like how to top up their phone credit and access their camera and pictures.

A third project from the town's Youth Café also centred on mental health. The group decided it would apply for funding to create positive mental health quote cards that would be distributed across the three secondary schools in the town. They asked friends and the school community if they would be interested and the feedback was that there was massive interest in the cards. The group created the mental health quote cards and the initiative was a great success lifting the spirits of young people in the community.