Amplifying Voices

Amplifying Voices (AV) is a Barnardos programme with the aim of strengthening the voice of children and young people on issues affecting them. The purpose of the AV project is to test, develop and demonstrate models of effective rights-based participation leading to better outcomes for children and young people.

The programme is being piloted in three communities across Dublin - Tallaght, Finglas and Blanchardstown. Amplifying Voices is funded by Atlantic Philanthropies and supported by Barnardos.

The Sound of Silence

This film was created and produced by a group of young people from Mulhuddart and Tallaght in Dublin who are aged between 12 and 17 years.

It is their contribution to an evaluation of the Amplifying Voices Initiative where their feelings, opinions and experiences are expressed through the medium of film.

This group of young people initially participated in their own local Amplifying Voices Group in 2012 where they worked to have their voices heard on issues that were important to them.   Out of this, several young people went forward from each group and have worked together for over two years. They have formed what is called the Amplifying Voices Youth Panel.

The young people want this film to show others the journey the group have made through the Amplifying Voices Project.  They characterise their unique experience on a short black and while silent film illustrating how they participated in their own groups.  They then document their experiences of participating in group settings and working as a team on making decisions to affect positive change in their home areas using an interview narrative.

The Amplifying Voices Youth Panel now support other Amplifying Voices groups within the project.

This is their story.

15 Smiles

Eric and Mark of 15 Smiles

15 Smiles is a new youth project developed by two young people from Dublin 15 to change how they and their peers are experiencing mental health awareness and information. The project, which arose from Barnardos’ Amplifying Voices programme, aims to make people smile more through the use of uplifting and inspiring quotes and images.

Eric Hughes aged 15 and Mark McMahon aged 16 spoke at the launch of the project in Google HQ: “It is a simple idea to help people smile more. We believe that mental health information should focus more on what helps us to be healthy mentally and not on the consequences of poor mental health. We want to help people find uplifting and inspiring quotes and images to help them smile and feel better. Our message is that if people are able to find more things to smile about, they will be happier and better able to deal with life when it gets more difficult."

“At school we are constantly hearing about mental health, which is good, but what we had noticed is the majority of the information focused on the negative aspects of mental health. We hear lots of information about suicide and depression but not so much about staying mentally healthy. We wanted to change that. We want to help change the conversations people have about mental health. We want to help by injecting positivity into people’s lives.”

A Safe Play to Play - Dominic's in Tallaght

Amplifying Voices in Tallaght: Somewhere Safe to Play from Barnardos Ireland on Vimeo.

One AV project underway involves a group of primary school age children living in the Dominic's community in Tallaght, West Dublin. They have identified bullying as an issue that strongly affects them; particularly focusing on how they can make their community playground a safe place for everyone living in the area to enjoy. The group of eight young people aged between ten and thirteen agreed that a safe place to play was a number one concern for them, and supported by their Barnardos facilitator Celine Dillon they considered a number of options for the proposed play area. Their campaign involved everyone in their community – they surveyed more than 100 people including parents, neighbours in the community, teachers and local councillors.

In early 2014, Dublin County Council agreed to provide funding for a multi-use games area in the Dominic's community - a fantastic result for the campaign!

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