Amaz­ing groups at the com­mu­nity awards

Irish Examiner - County - - News - CLLR DE­CLAN HUR­LEY

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.

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