Students from 6 Dublin secondary schools secured €2850 in funding to advance their ideas aimed at tackling social issues in their communities. The Dublin Den, part of a series of Den events hosted by Young Social Innovators, saw the Dublin students pitch to a Panel including the Managing Director of Virgin Media Television and the Deputy Head of Economic Development and Enterprise at Dublin City Council. The teenagers presented a wide array of creative ideas to promote positive change in their communities around issues such as mental health, sustainable fashion, equality in sports, body positivity and upgrading outdoor school spaces. All of the teenagers are taking part in Young Social Innovators this year, working in teams to create and implement social innovation projects on issues they care about.
The Den Panel awarded the Dublin teams the following in grant funding, four of which are from local schools.
‘Brand New to You’- Coláiste Bríde, Clondalkin, Dublin 22: €600 in funding to support the students’ sustainable fashion initiative ‘Brand New to You.’ Keen to highlight the negative impact of ‘fast fashion,’ the team is creating a poster campaign to encourage (particularly) young people to shop more sustainably in local charity and second-hand stores.
‘Same Game Same Fame’ – Coláiste Bride, Clondalkin, Dublin 22: €300 in funding and mentorship to support the teenagers’ campaign focusing on the underrepresentation of women in sport. As well as an in-school awareness week to encourage more girls to get involved in sport, the team are lobbying for an annual National Sports Day to raise awareness about sport in Ireland while equally promoting and celebrating male and female athletes.
‘Sensory Garden and Outdoor Classroom’ – Old Bawn Community School, Tallaght, Dublin 24: €400 in funding to help create a sensory garden and outdoor classroom in response to Covid-19. They hope that the garden will provide a bright space for students if they are stressed or struggling particularly in the current environment as well as promoting biodiversity in their school grounds.
‘Redefining Perfect’ – St. Joseph’s College, Lucan: €400 in funding towards their project on body positivity. The team hope to produce an education resource for use in SPHE classes promoting body positivity to improve teen wellbeing.
Paul Farrell, Managing Director at Virgin Media Television, and Dublin Den Panellist said, “I am privileged to have participated in the Young Social Innovators’ Den and to hear from articulate and motivated students about great projects focused on making real change for good with the support of some great teachers. Consistent themes of kindness, inclusion, wellness, sustainability and equality. It was truly inspirational and uplifting.”
Rachel Collier, CEO and Co-founder, Young Social Innovators said, “The effort and commitment that these students have put into their projects is truly remarkable, all the more so as students have been working remotely since Christmas under challenging circumstances. The passion and professionalism with which they presented their ideas is reflected in the funding awarded by the Den Panel. Our young people have an important role to play in rebuilding Ireland post Covid-19 and, based on what we have witnessed from this year’s Den events, they will fulfil that role remarkably – they just need to be invited to do so. Young Social Innovators provides a way in which young people can contribute to their communities and to shaping the type of world they want to live in.”
Young Social Innovators hosts the Den events every year, making available a Social Innovation Fund to support teenagers’ ideas to tackle social issues in an effort to create a fairer, more equal and sustainable world. A further 18 teams from around Ireland pitched at two further Social Innovation Den events. The teams pitching at this year’s YSI Dens addressed a range of issues, including mental health and wellbeing, revitalising green spaces and outdoor school areas, mask pollution, social inclusion, equality, road safety, sustainable fashion and period poverty. Over 7,000 students throughout Ireland are currently involved in similar projects with Young Social Innovators in 2021.