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Evaluative Research Report on ‘Sólás na nÓgs’ Youth Services launched at Comhairle na Gaelscolaíochta Conference

Bespoke, ground-breaking project provides services to children with additional learning needs through ‘Compassion, Nurture and Support’.

The newly appointed Children’s Commissioner, alongside leading practitioners and academics from Irish-medium education were among the guests as the Evaluative Research Report on Sólás na nÓg was launched at the Armagh City Hotel as part of Comhairle na Gaelscolaíochta’s annual conference. Sólás na nÓg is a bespoke and innovative provision of informal education delivered, facilitated, and participated in through the medium of the Irish language which caters for young people with various additional learning, physical, social, emotional and behavioural needs. This provision was established in 2019 as a pilot scheme and has grown, with support from the National Lottery Community Fund, into a core-element of the emerging Irish-language youth services at Glór na Móna.

Co-Ordinator of the Sólás na nÓg Project, Pádráigín Ní Mhathúna said:

“We are delighted that this important research paper was launched as part of the Comhairle na Gaelscolaíochta conference today and we want to thank Comhairle for hosting us and the speakers and delegates who attended this important launch. This evaluative paper explores, identifies and measures the impact of Sólás na nÓg’s increased service provision as part of Glór na Móna’s youth development output.

Our guiding slogan and principles are ‘Compassion, Nurture and Support’ and our programmes are shaped by the unique, diverse and therapeutic  needs of our young people and aim to enhance their personal, social, and emotional capacity in a nurturing, deeply pastoral and  welcoming safe space that also embeds their corresponding sociolinguistic needs. This involves an engaging, participatory and  wide-ranging programme of training, learning and therapeutic interventions that these young people have never had the opportunity to avail of previously.

Dr.Orla Nic Oirc’s unique participatory research approach, like our project, is shaped and led   led by the young people. We hope this continuous  research wil inform significant  policy interventions which can be presented to relevant  Government Departments and statutory bodies thus ensuring that these much- needed informal youth programmes are made available  young people being educated through the medium of Irish, anywhere where is need.

Prof Pádraig Ó Duibhir from Dublin College University noted:

“I warmly welcome this research report on the Sólás na nÓg project. It was incredibly uplifting to read about the pioneering work being carried out by all those involved in this project and their efforts to provide a bespoke, Irish language youth service for young people with additional learning needs. I commend the participatory approach which has been adopted throughout the evaluation of the project. As described in the report, it is the voices of the young people which are of paramount importance in research of this kind.

The Sólás na nÓg project is an exemplary model of best practice for the kind of work which could be undertaken in Gaeltacht areas and internationally, within other minority language communities. Long may Sólás na nÓg continue to thrive and develop.”

Dr Órla Nig Oirc, who compiled the research stated:

“The findings from this research indicate that the Sólás na nÓg project has had a profound and transformative impact on marginalised young people and their families ever since the establishment of the needs specific Irish-medium youth club service and throughout the initial year of increased provision. In addition, it has uncovered the need for a much deeper and rigorous research inquiry on the significance of bespoke informal Irish-medium youth provision for increasingly marginalised and vulnerable young people.

The fact that Glór na Móna intend to fluidly continue using this participatory research model to gather evidence and testimonials throughout the duration of the Sólás na nÓg project is a wholly positive development in terms of fostering shared learning and potentially, ground-breaking policy interventions for the benefit of the Irish-medium Youth Work sector.”

Concluding the event, newly appointed Children’s Commissioner, Chris Quinn, stated;

‘The powerful testimonies of the young people and their parents in this report prove just how valuable this ground-breaking Sólás na nÓg youth project has been for the health and well-being young people with additional learning needs who are often forgotten or excluded. While it’s fantastic that the National Lottery Fund have funded this programme, it needs to be mainstreamed and core funded by the Education Authority and recognised by the Department of Education as part of their Statutory Duty to support Irish Medium Education who have a disproportionately high level of children with Additional Learning needs. I commend this trailblazing research and the a transformative youth work being carried in out by Glór na Móna in areas  such as West Belfast that suffer from acute socio-economic  disadvantage. This work requires significantly increased resources and recognition to be developed and rolled out across the north.

Click here to read the report

Watch the launch here:

For more information please contact:

Pádráigín Ní Mhathúna

padraigin@glornamona.com

07568474348

Dr Órla Nig Oirc

orla@glornamona.com

07784034943

About us:

 

Glór na Móna is the key Irish language organisation that operates to promote Irish language and related activities in the Upper Springfield and the surrounding areas.

We are an organisation that has a strong belief in partnership with other groups in the community to widen the ownership of Irish as far as possible. We work on two levels. On one hand we promote Irish through our cultural events and on the other we develop services for the Irish language community.

Through ownership of the language a sense of pride is instilled in the community, this adds to the promotion of a social and cultural economic life and offers new ways of tackling old issues such as inter-generational unemployment and under achievement in exams.

 

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