Thurles Barnardo's centre reaps the rewards for using its imagination

Tipperary Star reporter

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Thurles Barnardo's centre reaps the rewards for using its imagination

Thurles Barnardo's centre reaps the rewards for using its imagination

Barnardos Thurles were delighted to receive the Investing in Children Membership Award for providing an inclusive and imaginative environment in their Family Support Centre. The Investing in Children Membership Award recognises and celebrates examples of imaginative and inclusive practice.

Staff at the family support centre in Thurles wanted to provide a more appropriate and comfortable space for children, one where they felt safe to express themselves. The team worked closely with the children to facilitate this and created calming spaces, such as ‘The Cosy Zone’ and ‘The Chill Corner’.

Olive Carter, Project Leader, Barnardos Thurles said: “We are delighted to receive the Investing in Children Membership Award. The voices of the children in our centre have always been central to our work and their input provides a wonderful energy and vibrancy to the centre. At Barnardos, we believe childhood last a lifetime. A child whose ideas and imagination are being heard and, more importantly, listened to, will feel the positive benefits throughout their life because they know their voice matters. Barnardos Thurles will continue to strive to provide imagination and inclusive practice in our work.”

Barnardos centre in Thurles works with 117 children from 119 families, providing intensive family support to those that need it and also provides an early years service which aims to get little ones ready for their move to big school in September.

The work is child-focused and aims to challenge children, their parents and carers to reach their full potential.

The evaluation was carried out by Jacqueline Concannon, participation and partnership officer, West, for the Investing in Children Membership Award, who met seven children who were participants of the Barnardos’ Family Support and Day-care Service at the time

The meeting room was identified by the children as an area that they use. However, in their opinion was “not child friendly” and needed to be redesigned.

From attending Child and Youth Participation training two years ago, staff created an individual action plan and incorporated changes from it.

Decorating the alley way was part of that Individual action plan and they worked with the children who painted the walls and the gates.

Some of the children did help with the painting, and one boy helped with the Fortnight piece of artwork.

Some children painted the tiles on the wall opposite the entrance and helped paint the railing from a dull grey to lots of different colours.