Tuesday 21 August 2018

Youth clubs need your vote to win X-HALE competition

A screen grab from the CDYS Mallow 2018 X-HALE awards mini-film
A screen grab from the CDYS Mallow 2018 X-HALE awards mini-film

Bill Browne

Members of a pair of Cork youth clubs are calling on their local communities for support to help win a national competition aimed at encouraging young people to 'kick the weed'.

The Ballincollig YMCA Parents and Kids Together (PAKT) and the CDYS Mallow are among more than 40 young groups from around the country who have made short films about being 'smoke free' under the auspices of the Irish Cancers Society's 2018 X-HALE youth awards.

Now in its eighth year, the initiative pairs the society with youth organisations with the aim of workings towards a "smoke free generation." 

While the dangers of smoking have been highlighted through many public campaigns over the years, research has found that approximately 8% of young people in Ireland between the ages of 8-17 still smoke. 

With this in mind X-HALE aims to empower more young people to learn the facts about smoking, raise awareness of its dangers and share their findings through the mediums of film, art, music and drama. 

As part of the 2018 X-HALE awards, groups were invited to make their own short films about tackling smoking and raising its dangers among their peers - with those generating the most online views between now and July 4 winning the public vote and a national award. 

The films can be viewed at 

In addition to making the films, the Cork groups have been engaging in high-profile campaigns on the issue, which has included putting up posters, organising screenings of their films and taking part in radio interviews. 

Sarah Chadwick, cancer prevention officer with the Irish Cancer Society, said they had been very impressed with the efforts of both Cork groups have made in trying to get their message across. 

"They have educated themselves about smoking, learned new skills and working closely together to create films that will inspire young people across Ireland and beyond," said Ms Chadwick. 

"They are leading the way in the movement towards a tobacco free Ireland and improving the health of their local communities. We commend their commitment to establishing Ireland's first smoke free generation and are asking the public to show their support by watching and sharing the X-HALE 2018 play-list."