Peer Ed Programme

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by Amy Sherif, 15th July 2019

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Peer Ed Programme

DUNDALK CREDIT UNION, IN PARTNERSHIP WITH LOUTH GAA AND LOUTH LCDC, LAUNCH LOUTH PEER EDUCATION PROGRAMME IN ALL POST-PRIMARY SCHOOLS IN CO. LOUTH

Dundalk Credit Union, Louth GAA and Louth Local Community Development Committee (LCDC) announced the launch of the Louth Peer Education Programme on Tuesday June 18th, to a packed audience at Louth GAA Centre of Excellence, Darver.   The Louth Peer Education Programme will deliver a comprehensive peer-to-peer substance use education programme to young people in all secondary schools in Co. Louth, commencing in October 2019.   The Louth Peer Education Programme will empower young people to be more informed about the harmful effects of substance use and will enhance their ability to make informed and healthy choices.   The Programme will be delivered by IE Programmes, on behalf of the North Eastern Regional Drug & Alcohol Task Force.

Running in all secondary schools in Co. Louth, this innovative Programme will see a number of TY or Fifth Year students in each school receive specialised training between October and December 2019.  On completion of this training, the Peer Educators liaise with their SPHE teachers, and schedule delivery of four SPHE Substance Use classes to first years in their respective schools and to 6th class pupils of feeder primary schools where possible from January to June 2020.   The classes will cover several related topics including self-esteem, peer pressure, smoking, alcohol, drug information and education.

This Peer Education Programme is an added resource to teachers and ensures that the Substance Misuse Module of SPHE curriculum is delivered within schools in a consistent manner and meets the National Quality Standards in Substance Use Education, as set by the Dept. of Education & Skills.   The Programme also meets SPHE guidelines which recommend that student-to student methodology can be a more effective element of a substance use module in SPHE, as specially trained peers or older students can have greater impact and credibility.

The Programme is jointly funded by Dundalk Credit Union, Louth GAA and Louth LCDC (Local Community Development Committee), and is being coordinated by Andy Ogle, Regional Co-ordinator for the North East Drugs & Alcohol Task Force.   Funding for this program had previously been available from both the NE-RDATF and HSE budgets, but this was constrained in recent years.    Dundalk Credit Union has been instrumental in re-igniting the program, providing support through its Community Support Fund, and worked with its community partners, Louth GAA, and Louth LCDC, to support the delivery of this hugely important program to the secondary school students of Co. Louth.

Dundalk Credit Union CEO Billy Doyle said “This is a great example of Dundalk Credit Union really delivering against our purpose of “building a stronger, more sustainable community”.   The wellbeing and education of our young people is vital and we are delighted to have played a pivotal role in having the programme re-introduced in all secondary schools in Co. Louth.”

Des Halpenny, Chairperson Louth GAA said “The Louth Peer Education Programme is hugely important, and will complement our Healthy Club and Heath & Wellbeing initiatives.   This, in addition to the Future Leaders programme, and our games and coaching links, further enhances our presence in our Post Primary Schools.  We are pleased to be part of making this important initiative happen in Co. Louth.”

Mary Deery, Louth County Council, said “We are very pleased to see the re-introduction of this important education and wellbeing initiative in our secondary schools; the need to enable our young people face and deal with pressures and challenges with regard to substance use has never been greater, and we are grateful to Dundalk Credit Union and Louth GAA for making this Programme possible.”

Pictured at Peer Ed Programme launch (left to right): Roisin Smith (Representative Affairs & Member Support Manager, CUDA), Billy Doyle (CEO Dundalk Credit Union), Samantha Teather (Information and Education Programmes), Liam Reilly (Cathaoirleach Louth County Council), Mary Deery (Louth County Council), Des Halpenny (Chairman Louth GAA)

Pictured at Peer Ed Programme launch (left to right): Roisin Smith (Representative Affairs & Member Support Manager, CUDA), Billy Doyle (CEO Dundalk Credit Union), Samantha Teather (Information and Education Programmes), Liam Reilly (Cathaoirleach Louth County Council), Mary Deery (Louth County Council), Des Halpenny (Chairman Louth GAA)

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