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Youth reach Amber status for promoting positive mental health

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By Michelle Crean

Hard work promoting positive mental health and well-being has secured an Amber Flag for the students and staff at Killarney Youthreach.

The Amber Flag is an initiative run by Pieta House that recognises the individual efforts of schools, Youthreach centres, third level institutions, and community groups to create healthy, inclusive environments that support mental well-being.

Killarney Youthreach students and staff came together in order to create a safe, positive and healthy attitude towards general physical and mental health and well-being.

In order to promote positive mental health and well-being, they engaged in a range of activities and actions including: mindfulness, creating a mental health and well-being noticeboard, organising a positive mental health week, engaging in mental health awareness training, timetabling physical activity in the outdoors, practicing gratitude and journaling. Students and staff are mindful of the five pillars of good mental health: connect with others, be active, take notice, keep learning and give.

“The efforts our young people put in were monumental and we are delighted that their hard work is being recognised nationally with the presentation of the Amber Flag,” Majella Hegarty, Killarney Youthreach Amber Flag staff leader, told the Killarney Advertiser.

Accepting Applications

Killarney Youthreach is now accepting applications from students who have left school. Kerry Education and Training Board’s Killarney Youthreach is operating out of a new purpose built premises at the rear of 50 High Street. Two main courses are on offer; Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) Level 3 (NQF Junior Cert equivalent) and QQI Level 4 (NQF pass Leaving Cert equivalent). Each course has a range of subjects including computers, maths, communications, biology, and interpersonal skills. Killarney Youthreach also offers work experience, sports, outdoor activities, personal development, as well as CV and interview preparation.

Youthreach is co-funded by the Government of Ireland, the European Social Fund and the Youth Employment Initiative as part of the ESF Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning. A training allowance is provided. If you are looking for a second chance at education, are aged between 16 and 20, and interested in joining Killarney Youthreach, please ring 064 663 2559 to set up an appointment for an interview.

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Killarney hotels are still open for business

By Sean Moriarty Only a few of the town’s 37 hotels are homing displaced people – according to Bernadette Randles, chair of the Kerry branch of the Irish Hotel Federation. […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Only a few of the town’s 37 hotels are homing displaced people – according to Bernadette Randles, chair of the Kerry branch of the Irish Hotel Federation.

This week she said that there’s still accommodation to be found in Killarney for visitors.

She was speaking in relation to the current accommodation situation facing International Protection Applicants and Ukrainian war refugees.

She explained that there is a perception that Killarney has taken in too many refugees and that it is putting the tourism industry at risk as people are starting to think that the town is at full capacity.

“If you can’t get a room in Killarney there is something wrong,” she said. “Maybe with the exception of New Year’s Eve.”

She added that hotels that are providing emergency accommodation are helping off-season unemployment.

Many hotels remain in survival mode after two years of pandemic turmoil and the additional off season business is important, she explained.

“Many could be closed at this time of the year, others would not be operating at full capacity,” she added.

However, she warned the Government needs to put a plan in place before the tourism season starts next year. Some hotels offering emergency accommodation either have a three or six month contract.

“I can see there will be tears next April – the Government must have a long-term plan,” she said.

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Homing refugees worth almost €14m

By Sean Moriarty Hotels, B&Bs and other accommodation suppliers in the Killarney area have secured contracts in excess of €13 million to accommodate Ukraine war refugees. The Department of Children, […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Hotels, B&Bs and other accommodation suppliers in the Killarney area have secured contracts in excess of €13 million to accommodate Ukraine war refugees.

The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth released figures to the Killarney Advertiser.

Documents show that contracts totalling €13,852,255.00 are being shared between 13 premises in the Killarney urban area.

However, the department warned these figures are “indicative” only and the full value of the contracts depends on “occupancy and actual usage”.

The Eviston Hotel has secured a contract worth €5,727,590.00, the Innisfallen Hotel in Fossa for €2,404,620.00 and The Hotel Killarney signed a deal worth €1,701,000.00. These are the three biggest contracts published in the documentation.

This is only the tip of the iceberg, and Department officials say more contracts could come on stream. Figures seen by the Killarney Advertiser only cover contracted premises up to the end of September this year and updated figures are only released every three months.

“We are in contract with far more, but the formal exchange of contracts can take place sometime after the service commences,” a department spokesperson told the Killarney Advertiser.

“The Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth is obliged to publish a list of contracts formally signed off each quarter that have been awarded under a special EU Derogation that permits the Department to enter into contracts in the context of the Ukraine accommodation crisis without going to formal tender.

“The values of the contracts shown are estimates; the actual value materialises upon occupancy and actual usage. Standard contracts have no-fault break clauses available to both parties so again, the figures are indicative rather than actual.”

These figures only cover Ukrainian refugees fleeing the war and do not include International Protection Applicants.

The Department refused to release International Protection Applicant figures to the Killarney Advertiser.

“The International Protection Applicant accommodation contract information is commercially sensitive information and is not available,” added the Department spokesperson.

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