Another area of immense development which has happened in this is the level of inter-agency supports which are in place. Over 50 different agencies have had and continue to have, a very central role in the sustaining of the development of the project. Offaly Local Development Company who was the main supporter of the all weather pitch and the Youth Café came in for special mention. `The supports which these organisations give are essential to the continued well being of the project. Laois Offaly ETB for their support of youth and adult education were also given strong prominence. The entire list of inter-agency supports were stressed on the day and it is this level of unseen unobtrusive help which allows for the vigorous growth that has occurred.
it is the community that decides which modules are run. We listen to what they are telling us and we then respond. The role of the LOETB in allowing us to do this cannot be overstated. If we stay rooted in the community and are part of that community then we will always know the programmes to deliver. The bespoke individualised nature of the programmes is what marks AMETS out as a provider. AMETS is an arm of the Acorn Project and operates with the same ethos
Anna O'Neill spoke of her involvement with the Youth Café and in particular of the resilience which is required to survive. She told the story of the preparation and dedication which went into the opening morning. 10 staff ready to cater for all the young people and none turned up. She captured vividly the heartbreaking ache when the realisation that no young person was coming through our doors. The sheer devastation of it. Then half and hour of self pity followed by plan B, luckily as she said plan B worked and the Youth Café has never looked back. There are so many individual stories that captures the spirit of the place. In essence she said the Youth Café was a safe space in which young people should feel free to be themselves.
On the morning of the event a thoughtful email was received from the
Minister of Justice Charlie Flanagan who apologised for being unable to attend. However, he did not want the day to go by without wishing the Acorn Project well and expressed a wish to visit the project in early Autumn.
Councillors John Foley and Noel Cribben were also very sincere in their praise of the project. Former participant Kiev Cummins who has now returned to adult education spoke emotionally about what the project means to him and how it saved his life. Kiev's story was powerful and received the loudest and longest applause of the day.
And so, at the end of the day a tired staff were delighted. The Acorn Project is a Garda Youth Diversion Project. Its number on task is to attempt to reduce youth crime. It is the very heart warming to hear our Chief Superintendent saying that it is successful beyond belief. The people of Edenderry should be aware that they could have had a far bleaker youth crime situation were it not for the fantastic work which the project engages in. All in all whatever the eventual outcome of the prize giving at a national level, the Acorn Project stands proud and delighted. They are outright winners irrespective of future decisions.
The musings, ramblings and general chit chat from the 'wan's' at the Acorn Project. It may be amusing, it may be informative, it may be off the wall, guaranteed it will never be boring ;-) Join us with your comments. Love to hear from you! Just remember, long as it's decent, and we don't have to wash its face, its welcome :-)