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Young people of Croom channel grief and isolation through creativity and carpentry.

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3 min read

Young people of Croom channel grief and isolation through creativity and carpentry.

3 min read

Young people of Croom channel grief and isolation through creativity and carpentry.

“This workshop not only highlighted the need to address loss it also allowed a creative output to channel grief”.

A wise man once said “Life is like a boat in the sea. When the sea is rough the only way to keep your boat moving forward is to keep rowing”. It was this kind of positive mental attitude that ended up being the driving force behind the Croom UBU boat build project which took place last summer. As part of their Young Men’s Mental Health and Well Being project, staff in Croom used crucial funding from the Local Creative Youth Partnership and Foróige to deliver practical workshops in boat building. This inspirational initiative gave nine young men the opportunity to work alongside each other, five days a week for three weeks, on a poignant project that would come to represent a lot more than the art of boat building itself.

While it allowed them to develop carpentry skills, learning how to draw, cut out and assemble a two person canoe and paddles, it also presented them with an ongoing adaptable project with young people steering the focus of its creativity throughout. It also brought the group, many of whom have experienced bereavement in their lives together with the common goal to make their vessel ready for the water.

This in many ways symbolised the readiness needed in life, because as any good sailor will tell you, while water in the boat can be the ruin of it, water under it is it’s support. This emotional support proved to be just as important as the practical experience that they gained and then they went even further, expanding the boat building and creating tool boxes and plaques in the workshop. These unique pieces were then designed to reflect those who the group had lost, honouring parents, siblings, grandparents and friends and just as the staff in Croom had hoped, the workshop not only highlighted the need to address loss in our lives, it also offered up a creative output to address it.

“All of the young men involved have expressed a desire to continue at the workshop, and with further funding available, staff and the ETB plan to continue with the project and build on its success.”  – Kirsty Boucher Project Worker, Croom Area Youth Project UBU, Foróige

Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board’s Local Creative Youth Partnership is one of three national, pilot programmes that work with youth and community organisations to provide creative opportunities for young people. These Partnerships are an initiative of Creative Ireland’s Creative Youth programme which support the LCYP’s Creative Youth Arts Residency programme, funded by the Irish Government’s July Stimulus package. 

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