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Local secondary school students surveyed to help create a ‘Planet Youth’ in Fingal

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Bremore Educate Together Secondary School Principal Kathy Jones pictured with Fingal Mayor Seana O'Rodaigh

Bremore Educate Together Secondary School Principal Kathy Jones pictured with Fingal Mayor Seana O'Rodaigh

Bremore Educate Together Principal Kathy Jones pictured with Fingal Mayor Seana O'Rodaigh, school staff and David Creed, Prevention Coordinator with North Dublin Regional DATF, following the successful survey completion for the school.

Bremore Educate Together Principal Kathy Jones pictured with Fingal Mayor Seana O'Rodaigh, school staff and David Creed, Prevention Coordinator with North Dublin Regional DATF, following the successful survey completion for the school.

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Bremore Educate Together Secondary School Principal Kathy Jones pictured with Fingal Mayor Seana O'Rodaigh

fingalindependent

A major survey of secondary school students under way in Fingal will provide policymakers with valuable insights into the important issues facing young people in Ireland today.

There has been a strong response from third, fourth and fifth year students to the Planet Youth project, which is being led by the North Dublin Regional Drug & Alcohol Task Force. Based on an Icelandic model of primary prevention, this is the first time the survey has been carried out in Dublin.

Nearly all second level schools in Fingal have been participating in the survey this month, with plans to carry it out every two years.

The survey includes questions about health, bullying, substance use, family life, friends, sports and emotional wellbeing and resilience. This year, the team has added questions about Covid-19 to help understand better how the pandemic has impacted on young people from their own perspectives.

Bríd Walsh, coordinator of the North Dublin Regional Drug & Alcohol Task Force, said the next step will be to analyse the students’ feedback.

“Having that level of data on about 3,000 young people who are living in the area means that services and agencies can make plans that are evidence-based and are meeting the needs of young people in a very real way,” she said. “It is so important that young people have their voices heard when it comes to the plans that impact them.”

With funding from the HSE, the taskforce has recruited a new prevention coordinator, David Creed, who brings a wealth of youth experience with him.

Cllr Seána Ó Rodaigh, the Mayor of Fingal, is a member of the North Dublin Regional Drug & Alcohol Task Force and a key part of the Planet Youth team. She is passionate about the project has visited Iceland to get a full insight into how the initiative works.

“Fingal is the youngest and most diverse county in Ireland so you couldn’t find a more appropriate place to run it,” she said. “Every school in each area will get the data that’s specific to their cohort. It’s up to the policymakers how they respond to what young people are telling them. It will be useful in seeing the impact that the global pandemic has had on their lives.”

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