St. Patrick’s Comprehensive School has won Best Stand Alone Project winners in the Walk in My Shoes Mission Possible Awards.
The Comp was the only school from County Clare to be shortlisted in the national awards which aim to celebrate schools who promote positive mental health. The school will receive a €600 cheque, a trophy and a cert.
St. Patrick’s Comprehensive School was the first comprehensive school in Ireland when it was opened in 1966. It continues to lead the way in progressive ideas and initiatives. This is very much the case with COMPanionship – a new initiative to bring a sense of community to those who may feel it is lacking at the moment.
They were first approached by a local community organisation ‘Love Shannon Group’ to ask if they wanted to get involved in their project to help raise the spirits of the elderly in care homes in the area. It was from this initial suggestion that the school’s idea sprouted and grew.
A Comp spokesperson said: “We decided to combine the TY, LCA and Photography Club teams to work collaboratively on this project. The main initiative consists of a website created and maintained by our students and staff. On the website, we share pictures, videos, songs, poetry in an effort to bring some much-needed joy and happiness to the elderly in our area. It is especially aimed at those who may have to isolate/cocoon for much of the 2020 year. Whether this may be residents in care homes or those living in the local area, we hope that the site might be of interest to everyone.”
“We want to bring a much-needed sense of connection to the people who need it most! Our students, staff, parents, families and friends have come together to send in special moments and highlights from their lives to share with others. The elderly in our community can see a walk with a pet, a trip around town, listen to a poem or a song in English or as Gaeilge and hopefully feel a connection to others. We hope that these moments may also be meaningful to people who have had to limit their experiences over the past couple of months.”
The spokesperson added: “In the lead up to Christmas we also worked with a local care home – Carrigoran House to bring some Christmas Cheer to the residents. Our TYs and LCAs worked to make over 100 goody bags with individual Christmas decorations for the residents. Also included were prayer cards created with photos taken by Olaf in our Photography Club.
A large Christmas Tree was made and decorated as a reusable feature for their reception area too. Since then we have also sent baked good, framed photos from our Comp-Pix Club and flowers to the care home.
Our project continues with our Spring 2021 theme and our school community are adding to the content. We would love to see similar projects in other areas around the country. As restrictions lift we aim to make the project more intergenerational by adding the voices and stories of the elderly in our community.”