The Irish launch of the Activating Young Rural Development (ACORN) project took place recently at The Suck Valley Way Conference in Roscommon. The conference is an annual event and this year the topic was ‘Inspiring Rural Creativity’. The event was held in association with Roscommon Leader Partnership and the Association of Irish Local Government (AILG).
The Acorn project is all about empowering and inspiring young rural people to become active citizens, co-creators, and implementers of rural development initiatives in Europe. Roscommon Leader are leading this project, partnering with expert organisations: ID20, European E-Learning Institute, VisMedNet and Momentum.
The conference was inspiring and insightful. Over the course of this two-day event, we heard from a number of different speakers who are enthusiastic about rural creativity and who are making a difference.
Martina Earley, CEO of Roscommon Leader Partnership gave a wonderful presentation of the ACORN project and discussed the importance of giving young people a voice in the community.
Shane Tiernan, Chief Executive of Roscommon County Council, spoke about the importance of volunteering and the impact it can have: “We’re only as good as the wonderful volunteers that work so hard on our communities”.
The conference had a youth development panel discussion which involved local young people from diverse backgrounds. We heard about the issues that matter to them and the suggestions they had about ways to improve the areas that they live in. Some of the issues that young people face in Ireland are similar to the rest of Europe – issues surrounding public transport, amenities, and not having a voice/ representation.
ACORN will create a new set of resources, including a transferable mechanism for youth inclusive rural development in Europe. Our project aims to engage, empower, and inspire young people in rural areas to become active citizens, co-creators, and implementers of rural development initiatives. ACORN strives to create a more prosperous, interconnected, and strong rural Europe, particularly for rural youth.
You can find out more about ACORN on the website: https://acornproject.eu/