The development of Laois Offaly Local Creative Youth Partnership (LO LCYP) in 2019 shows a firm commitment from Laois Offaly Education and Training Board (LOETB) to working with young people across the two counties to increase participation and engagement in out of school creative activities.
Following the establishment of a Steering Committee that brings together Laois and Offaly Local Authority Arts Officers, Youth Officer, Heritage Officer, Music Generation Educators along with LOETB representatives, an independent consultant carried out a substantive piece of research in 2018. The findings of the research informed LO LCYP Steering Committee of the barriers to youth participation and engagement in out of school creativity across Laois and Offaly.
The research identified the barriers to participation such as transport, cost, and lack of facilities along with poor availability of creative programmes. Addressing those needs has led to the development of over 70 youth-led creative projects to date across Laois and Offaly, delivered in a non-main stream manner. The work has focused on young people in the age range of 12-20 years from youth clubs, groups and organisations in rural, urban, and targeted areas. Creative activities such as drama, song, photography and videography, music, murals, podcasting, radio skills, creative writing and STEM-related activities to name a few.
Key to the work of LO LCYP is the requirement to identify children and young people’s voices, their perceived aspirations, requirements and needs in order to inform the delivery of creative programmes. The LO LCYP engages with the Department of Children Equality Disability Integration and Youth in developing youth consultation for its area, through advice and guidance from Hub na nÓg, ensuring the unique voices of children and young people of Laois and Offaly play a central role in how LO LCYP evolves.
Embedded in the ethos of Laois Offaly Local Creative Youth Partnership are models of good practice, that will help inform and sustain a framework supporting the creative and cultural education of children and young people throughout Laois and Offaly. LO LCYP believe building upon existing partnerships, whilst also forging new ones is the key to maximising creative opportunities and levels of engagement for young people.
A good example of effective partnership and collaboration that complements and enhances existing creative activity while responding to the needs of young people in fulfilling their creative potential, is a Youth Group Project – MYT Creative Space Mountrath. One such creative programme that has grown from strength to strength is a Performing Arts Programme, Facilitator: James O’Connor (Singer/Songwriter) Supported by: Creative Ireland and Laois Offaly LCYP in Partnership with Music Generation Laois.
“MYT the difference it makes to all our lives – where we find friendship, kindness, acceptance, freedom to ‘fly’ and so much FUN!!” – Young person part of MYT Creative Space
“It was really hard and takes so much time, but I can’t wait to do more, I love it now” – Young person part of the Block Project, Portlaoise – Mosaic Art workshops
“It makes me feel good” – Young Person part of Tullamore Youth Project – Music and Dance workshops