Equality 17 Consensus Conference was the highlight and culmination of a year-long campaign to support young people to become involved in actions and initiatives that build equality and make Ireland a fairer society for all. The conference brought together expert speakers, equality based organisations and provided a space for delegates to learn, connect and get involved in equality issues that affect them, through practice based workshops, TED style talks, an exhibition space, creative fair, entertainment and much more.
Thoughout the year we worked alongside a group of young people - The Equality Crew - who direct, inspired and fed into all aspects of the planning and deliver of Equality 17. Crew members include Meaghan McCarthy, Kildare Youth Service, Deborah Fakeye, Youth Work Ireland Midlands, Rachel Daly, Clare Youth Service, Megan Hanlon and Shania Cahill, Youth Work Ireland Meath, Chris Keating, Waterford & South Tipperary Community Youth Service, Andrius Sirvys, Youth Work Ireland Galway, Ayrton Kelly, Donegal Youth Service, Finn O'Farrell & Conan O'Neill, Youth Work Ireland Monahan, Conor Horgan, KDYS, Joe Howlin, FDYS Youth Work Ireland and Emily Shaughnesey and Matthew Cronin, Limerick Youth Service. The Crew were joined on stage by other young people who gave powerful testimonies on their 'Stories of Equality', these included Daniel Airey, Irish Wheel Chair Association, Aloisa Dias, Youth Work Ireland North Connaught and Jack Smith Carroll, Youth Work Ireland Monaghan.
Disability Awareness Workshop facilitated by Irish Wheelchair Association
Work to Learn Workshop
Status Toolkit Workshop facilitated by Involve
Influencing Social Change through Action, facilitated by the Young Paperless & Powerful youth group from Migrants Rights Centre Ireland.
From our consultation work with young people, we knew that they wanted to be part of actions and initiatives that support equality and make Ireland a fairer society for all. The Exhibition Space and TED style stage allowed delegates to link in and learn more about key equality issues in Ireland and the steps they can take to be more involved. Speakers on the TED style stage included Senator Aodhán Ó’Riordán, Alex Lawson TENI, Sinead Kane, Motivational Speaker & Disability Activist, Senator Fintan Warfield, Mike Allen, Focus Ireland, Joanna Siewierska, student and activist and Ciara Purvis, Youth Work Ireland Meath.
This creative and interactive space faciltated by Creativity and Change, provided delegates with the chance to try out arts based tools for campaigns and awareness raising, such as: Badge-making, Stencil-making, Chalkboard poster, Create a Meme, Stop Motion and Creative Writing & Magnetic Poetry.
Equality 17 linked in with key partner organisations in Ireland who have expertise in specific equality issues facing young people. These organisations highlighted key issues that they campaign on. These organisations include NYCI, Migrants Rights Centre Ireland, Involve, Belong To, Irish Wheelchair Association, Educate Together, Equate Ireland, Inclusion Ireland and Youth Action Northern Ireland.
Youth Work Ireland's National Consensus Conference 2016 will build on the work we are doing promoting and strengthening mental wellbeing, and sharing the work youth services do to support young people's mental health. The event will showcase & promote the contribution youth services make to the mental wellbeing of young people. The event highlighted the work done across Ireland in clubs and services to support young people’s wellbeing. The event featured contributions from young people, experts, volunteers and workers and will provided delegates with an opportunity to share, learn and explore the ways every day youth work practice and activities can support young people’s mental wellbeing.
We were delighted to have Dr. Fergus Heffernan, Minister for Children & Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone, Minister of State for Mental Health & Older People, Helen McEntee, Moninne Griffith, Belong To, Leighanne Ryan Culleton, Carlow Regional Youth Service, Orla Barry, Mental Health Ireland and members of the WellBeing Squad speak at the conference
This year over 200 delegates, made up of young people, volunteers and youth workers came to Dublin Castle to showcase what is great about their youth clubs; share the important work that is being done all over Ireland in local clubs, meet new people and learn new skills to take back to their clubs.
Our conference focused on the great youth work being done in youth clubs, as by far the vast majority of young people in Ireland who engage in youth work do so through parish or community based voluntary youth clubs. Our conference featured inputs from young people, volunteers, staff and key policy makers that proved beyond doubt that youth clubs do serious and challenging work in a fun way. This work has a transformative and positive influence in local communities in both the rural and urban context.