TY project in Balbriggan shortlisted for national award
A project which saw almost 100 Balbriggan students devise innovative ways to tackle local problems digitally, has been shortlisted for a major award.
Last October, Transition Year students from three local schools took part in workshops to develop solutions ‘to build a stronger, cohesive and more vibrant community’.
The TY Challenge event was run by Smart Balbriggan, an initiative of Fingal County Council, in collaboration with The Academy of the Near Future and What the Hack.
Students from Ardgillan Community School, Bremore Educate Together Secondary School and Coláiste Ghlór na Mara took part – and last week the event was shortlisted for the .IE Digital Town Awards in the Digital Education category.
This category is aimed at digital projects in the areas of education, training and development at all levels in the town.
The Balbriggan entry will compete for the prize of €9,000 – and €5,000 for the runner-up - with projects from Castlebar, Dún Laoghaire, Murroe, Co Limerick, and Sligo also in the running.
Mayor of Fingal, Seána Ó Rodaigh, said: “Is clár iontach é ‘Baile Brigín Cliste’ agus is iontach an rud é go bhfuil aitheantas forleathan faighte aige. Guím gach rath ar na daltaí ar fad. It is really great to see this TY programme in Fingal being recognised nationally. I wish the students all the very best.”
“A key focus of the Smart Balbriggan programme is to engage with local young people and it’s great to see the initiative being shortlisted in these prestigious awards,” said Aoife Sheridan, Senior Executive Officer of the Economic, Enterprise, Tourism and Cultural Development Department, Fingal County Council.
Through the workshops, the Balbriggan students learned how new technology and innovation could improve their community, and developed their own creative ideas to tackle local issues.
And a panel of judges named a concept called ‘Food Waste’ from students at Coláiste Ghlór na Mara as the best on the day. The winning team were Alisha Ní Riain, Ruaidhrí Ó Baoill, Cathal Mac Aoidh and Síofra Nic Mánais.
Their solution looked at tackling food waste with the development of a platform which would educate people about the problem, as well as meal preparation, and prompt them to make changes to their food consumption habits.
Balbriggan is Ireland’s first town to be named as a Smart District and a core focus of this will be to enhance community life, support economic opportunities and drive innovation through a number of projects.
Smart Districts are strategically selected geographical locations where targeted smart projects are implemented.
The initiative also supports the delivery of the Our Balbriggan Rejuvenation Plan, which was developed after 4,000 people took part in a public engagement on the future of the town in 2019.
Community is at the heart of Smart Balbriggan, with residents invited to participate in the design and implementation of the programme through workshops, events, surveys and focus groups.
Aishling Hyland, Fingal County Council’s Digital Strategy Manager and Smart Balbriggan Co-ordinator, said that the Smart Balbriggan TY Challenge was a good example of how you can educate young people about smart city technologies and give them the tools to ideate and innovate.
"This shortlisting rewards the initiative for bringing into focus the importance of getting our younger population to be involved, have their say and explore solutions to local challenges,” she said.
The national awards ceremony will be a virtual event and will take place on Wednesday, June 8.