Amazing groups at the community awards
I have just celebrated what must be one of the biggest events in the Mayor’s term — the Community Awards.
An amazing 34 community groups and individuals were nominated for the awards which recognise the work of volunteers who work in partnership with the Council to better our communities. These are the volunteers who create superb contributions and improvements across Cork County.
Eleven awards were presented on the night, including three each from North Cork, South Cork and West Cork. I must again congratulate Séan Murphy who received the Overall Individual Award and Carrigtwohill Family Resource Centre for the Overall Community and Voluntary Group Award.
On the night, I met a wealth of people who bring enormous positives to their communities. I would like to applaud all who were nominated and credit their commitment to their communities.
The Mayor’s Community Awards are a wonderfully inclusive gathering representing all members of our society. Two events I recently attended specifically targeted the younger and older members of our society while another initiative brought young and old together to create very meaningful results.
Almost 600 Transition Year students from 30 schools throughout Cork came together for a very special conference. Teen Talk focused specifically on health and wellbeing. This was an incredible morning with absolutely brilliant speakers.
Niall ‘Bressie’ Breslin shared his personal story of dealing with panic attacks, depression and learning to deal with these. Dr Pixie McKenna of Embarrassing Bodies gave students a straighttalking presentation on what they should concern themselves with in terms of general health, while Cork’s Olympic race walker and star of RTÉ’s Dancing with the Stars, Rob Heffernan, spoke about the benefits of a living a healthy lifestyle. MC for the event was former Rose of Tralee, Maria Walsh, who shared her own personal experi- ences of growing up and coming out as gay.
Cork County Council, with funding from Healthy Ireland, hosted this conference and I must credit all involved for creating an event that got young people thinking and — importantly — talking about their health.
The frank and honest manner way in which the speakers spoke resonated throughout the room. Everyone was given a Green Ribbon to wear in support of See Change, a month-long campaign being run by the national Mental Health Stigma Reduction Partnership, encouraging people in Ireland to end mental health stigma this May.
Meanwhile, Cork County Older Peoples Council (OPC) under the Age Friendly Programme recently welcomed more than 300 guests to an event to discuss and highlight issues facing older people in Cork while a variety of agencies and exhibitors provided details about their services.
The entire event was a great opportunity for people to learn, network and share ideas.
And finally, bringing both young and old together was the Design Thinking Challenge we held recently. The competition was part of CIT’s Innovation Week 2018 and was a collaboration between Cork Institute of Technology, Cork County Council’s Service rePublic section and the Cork Age Friendly Programme. Under the theme of “empathy for the older driver”, student teams of four were required to solve a real challenge for the older people in the community.
A wide variety of ideas were proposed, including the winning team’s suggestions which were: having aspects of driver courtesy included as one of the 12 Essential Driver Training lessons; hosting clinics in rural areas where individuals can come to get help with driving requirements such as tax renewal or insurance; and older drivers being offered a reduced charge for a yearly check-up on their car.
Such intergenerational thinking combines fresh thinking with experience leading to positive solutions in the real world.