Barnardos Limerick South Family Support Project receives Investing in Children Membership Award

The Investing in Children Membership Award recognises how Barnardos have consulted with children attending the afterschool service and have ensured their voices are heard which has led to change.

Posted on Thursday 19 July 2018 in Press Releases

The Investing in Children Membership Award recognises how Barnardos have consulted with children attending the afterschool service and have ensured their voices are heard which has led to change.

In November 2017, staff in the afterschool service and a member of Barnardos advocacy team worked with the children attending this service to identify what is the best thing about being a child and what would make it better. Their views and voices were captured on a video to mark Universal Children's Day. The children spoke about the communities they live in, for example the impact of anti-social behaviour, the lack of a safe place to play and their environment. They showed a keen interest in improving and reforming their area through local advocacy. Following this consultation, contact was established between the afterschool service and the Mayor of Limerick with the plan to meet with him and other relevant decision makers within Limerick City and County Council. The children subsequently met the Mayor and outlined what was important to them. These discussions and experiences have promoted the children's independent thinking, negotiation skills and feeling their voices are being listened to.

In addition, the award recognises how Barnardos include children. For example in the afterschool service staff facilitate informal and formal consultation with the children on a daily and weekly basis and an end of year evaluation in relation to the service.  The responses from children are carefully considered and changes are made in response to issues raised by the children. Children's ideas are then incorporated into weekly or future plans.

As part of the application process Jacqueline Concannon, (Tusla's Participation and Partnership Officer for Prevention, Partnership and Family Support, West) met with the children in the service and completed an independent evaluation which was then forwarded to Investing In Children in the U.K. who made the final decision as to whether Barnardos were afforded the award.

Barnardos Limerick South are delighted to have been awarded the Investing in Children Membership Award in recognition of including children's voices and participation in our work.

Following on from this the children got the opportunity to showcase their work at the 3rd National Tusla Child and Youth Participation Conference 'where to from here' on the 26th April 2018 in Athlone. Four of the children represented the afterschool service and participated in the exhibition of their work. The four children were presented with the Investing In Children Membership Award on this day.