Featured in Spokeout Winter 2011
Written by Jane Fennessy
Thu, 23 Aug 2012
Getting Connected

Getting Connected

JANE FENNESSY from Navan explains how she got involved in IWA’s National Youth Advisory group and why she believes the launch of the new IWA Youth microsite is so important.

Iam 25 years old and have Cerebral Palsy. I live in Navan, Co Meath, in an apartment which I am very proud to call my own home. I got involved with IWA when I was 22 years old. I had just finished a work placement course which I had been doing for 18 months, and I was starting to lose confidence in myself as I was stuck at home in my room listening to music every day.

With the help of a friend, I decided to contact the local IWA Centre and I now attend it twice a week on Mondays and Wednesdays. On a Monday, I do computers, play cards, bingo or take part in quizzes. Wednesday is our Youth Day where myself and 12 or 13 other young adults meet up. We take part in ësit fit’ classes, boccia competitions and drama classes, but more importantly, with the help and encouragement of the centre staff we have learnt that the centre is our space to gain confidence, grow as a group, learn from each other and become more independent. We now organise our own activities, both outside and inside the centre, such as concerts, bowling, table quizzes, curling and power soccer.

One day I was approached by one of the IWA staff members, who asked me if I would be interested in joining the National Youth Advisory Group. This group consists of a number of different people who are involved in IWA. There is a mix of young members and staff who work together to advise the organisation on how to develop youth services across the country. The meetings take place once a month and I join in by teleconference or by travelling to wherever the meeting is being held.

In 2009 the youth members took part in a survey, and the results showed that they felt the IWA website needed to be more youth friendly. In response to this, the idea for a new IWA Youth microsite came about. After lots of hard work behind the scenes, the microsite was officially launched on Wednesday 26th October in the Wheelz Cafe in the IWA Centre in Clontarf. The atmosphere was buzzing and the microsite got a great response from everyone.

IWA's microsite is quick, easy to access, and serves as a one stop shop for information on IWA and beyond. It will give you ideas on how you can get involved in local activities and help you link up with other young people. The microsite will continue to evolve and we look forward to your feedback and suggestions on how we can improve it and what you would like to see on the website. So, to find out more, log onto www.future-domain.ie/services/youth-services.