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Music Generation at West Wicklow Youthreach Blessington

On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 4-6th June, West Wicklow Youthreach Students worked with Producer Gavin Ralston, and singer Luan Parle . They came to the centre as part of the Music Generation programme, a first for Youthreach in Wicklow. The Music Generation programme is about making a song about any topic we want.

Gavin and Luan helped us with that. Music Generation is Ireland’s new National Music Education Programme. Initiated by Music Network and funded by U2 and The Ireland Funds, Music Generation aims to help children and young people to access music education in their own locality. It is a five-year programme (2010 – 2015), which is locally provided within a national framework.

We were split into two groups. Dylan, Jamie, Denis, Adam, Aaron were making a rap. Amy, April, Katie, Barbara, Charlie, Daniel G and I produced a pop song that was about summer. Writing our own lyrics was difficult, but Gavin and Luan made it fun, exciting and easy for us. We also made a video for each song which was really fun.  Check us out on YouTube. Type in West Wicklow Youthreach Blessington and you should find us.

Daniel Janiga


European Week Against Cancer

Art competition

Recently, I took part in the European Week Against Cancer poster competition. This competition was made to raise awareness about different ways cancer is caused, and how it can be prevented. We were given a brief, and a sheet with the categories that could be done. I decided to pick Limiting Alcohol intake. I came up with three ideas, and asked my friend’s which one they liked best. I chose the design and got to work. After about a week, I did not have a lot done so I quickly threw a poster together. I liked the design of the poster, and thought if it was done neater, then maybe it might have a chance of reaching the finals. 

About two weeks later, the design was coming together, but I then decided to add something, as I thought it looked to plain. I added a cancer ribbon in the top corner because I noticed very few of the other posters had them, but then decided to bring the beams of light from the cancer sign through the design. I think adding the coloured lights helped get the pictures to the finals.

A couple of days before the posters had to be sent in, I added a boarder and cleaned it up. On Wednesday 29th May, I got a call from Adam Roden, my friend from Youth Reach. He told me it had been announced that I had won the competition. I checked the Facebook page, and my poster was up in the winner’s album. I was delighted that I had won an IPAD mini, and i am proud of my work. I thank my art teacher Jane Meriman for helping me to start, and finish my poster.

Dillan Coomber


Blessington Youthreach Walk for Charity

On a hot summers day on the 3rd June 2013 in Dublin City, a marathon with a difference was about to take place at 2pm. With 10,000 women and some men dressed up, the congregation began at the Luas lines at the red cow, and in Dundrum in the late morning. 

Hopping off the Luas and arriving at Stephens Green, the sea of different coloured t-shirts was magical; with each of us trying to figure out who was running for which charity. The atmosphere was electric, and intense at the same time.  Denise, the Coordinator went off to the running section with her Irish Kidney Association t-shirt, and after walking for about 20 minutes, she eventually reached the start – well close enough.  The rest of us didn’t have that far to walk to the walking section, with us proudly wearing our CF t-shirts.

A first, most of us (except Denise, being her 4th time) sweltered in the heat, waiting to start. 2FM kept us entertained, and Elvery Sports did our warm ups.  Eventually, 2pm came and the race had started.  By the time we reached the starting line, the winner was finished and on her way home.  We all chatted as we walked, and people who came out to support us were very encouraging. 

Dublin Fire Brigade, and even some shops hosed us down with nice cool water. People grabbed for the water to ensure that no one got dehydrated.  As one walked and talked, the time flew by, and before we knew it; we were rounding the corner to the finish line, proud that we had completed the course, and that we were still standing and smiling.  So well done to Caroline Mc Cabe (Tutor), Katie Guing, Emma Regan, April Roden and Denise Walsh (YR Coordinator).


   Blessington Youthreach meet the stars of TV3

On December 17th 2012, Blessington Youthreach learners went on a company visit to TV3, in association with FIT.  After a short drive to the Ballymount Studios we were going to see how a television station really works. Whilst waiting in the reception area the Youthreach learners were buzzing with excitement, in the hope that we would meet some of the stars of TV3 like, Martin King, the lovely ladies of XPOSE, the crew of Ireland AM and the one and only Vincent Browne,

Our Guide producer Niall Judge, met us and brought us into one of the board rooms.  On the way we passed Hair and Makeup, sadly no stars being done up much to our dissatisfaction.  The land of TV3 was a very busy and bustling place - People coming and going doing what they do best.

Niall explained to us all about TV3, when and how it started, how programmes were sourced and shown on TV, how the advertisement section work hard to get people to advertise their products, as that is how TV3 make up the majority of their income and how TV3 use viewer ratings to help them make informed decisions about what shows to air.  Interesting stuff and running a TV station is not as easy as we thought.

We were then split into 2 groups and went our different ways to view the studios of Ireland AM, Vincent Browne, the news desk and yes they are all the same studio with different backgrounds. We spoke to a producer who explained his job and what is needed to work inTV3.  Then we went to the control room to see how it all works, very complicated stuff to be honest, but interesting.

At the end of the tour, we visited their new studio that is not quite finished.  Naill gave an interesting perspective on Life in TV3 where hard grafting, use of common sense, ability to work with a team and use of initiative are very important traits to have.  Sadly no stars to be seen much to our disappointment! Maybe next time!         


West Wicklow Footballers off to a good start


The students of the West Wicklow Youthreach Blessington football team managed to bag six points out of a possible nine in their first foray into the Wicklow Youthreach League. The Wicklow Sports Promotion Unit have organised the event in which each centre will host a day of football. Teams play each other once. All teams will play twelve games in total and the winners will be the team with the most points at the end of it all.


The team were led by their captain, Aaron Nugent. Other members of the team included John Doyle, Martin Byrne, Eugene Keogh, Tom McGuire and James Murray. All of the team played excellently on the day, but just tired towards the end of the day. They started brightly with a 7-4 victory over a tough Bray side. This ensured that confidence levels were high going into the second game against Arklow. After a slow start they managed to win this one comfortably, with the highlights being an outrageously skilful goal by James Murray and a tap in at the end of a wonderful passing move in which every team member had a touch of the ball.


The lads headed into the final game full of confidence against the much fancied Wicklow Town side. The game was a very tetchy, physical and at times bruising affair, with both sides desperate to win. Wicklow just had the physical egde and managed to get into an early lead, which they never surrendered. In the end it was a comfortable 10-1 win for Wicklow. This left the Blessington lads feeling rather disheartened, but the mood lightened on the bus on the way home when the positives of the day were discussed. Captain Aaron Nugent was the top scorer and everyone pitched in. The  crushing defeat to Wicklow Town has only left the Blessington lads eager to put it right when the two sides meet again. All in all though, the management and players can be satisfied with their day’s work.


West Wicklow Youthreach football team 2012James Murray in Action.James Murray in action

 L to R: Eugene Keogh, James Murray,      

 Martin Byrne, Tom McGuire, Aaron

 Nugent (c) & John Doyle.


Girls at Blessington Youthreach avail of “The Real Deal Training Programme”


All of the females at Blessington Youthreach took part in “The Real Deal Training Programme”.  It is a six session training course facilitated by one time teen mums.   The main emphasis of the programme is to educate young females about the importance of giving serious consideration and time to the decision to have sex and the consequences of engaging in sex at a young age.

There are 6 areas to be covered during the training:

  • Self Esteem
  • Sex Education and Contraception
  • Drugs and Alcohol
  • Sexually Transmitted Infections
  • Life as a Teen Mum
  • “Not Now- Later” / Goal Setting


This Programme is run in conjunction with the SPHE / RSE programme and the mentoring programme.  So what do people say about it:

“The girls were very friendly and honest and they opened my eyes to the dangers of having sex at a young age- both sexually, emotionally and physically.”

“You could be yourself no matter what needed to be said or what kind of situation you have been in the past- no one judged you.”

“We learned that a baby is for life and that your life changes so much when you have to take care of someone else, the sacrifices you have to make.  There is not just you anymore, there is another human being that needs to be taken care of.”

Coordinators comments:  “This type of programme is a very valuable resource to have.  The young females learn a lot from it and its real life that builds up their self-esteem and communication.  It is very informative.”

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