HSE launches new resource, ‘Talking to Your Young Child about Relationships, Sexuality and Growing Up’ 

Research finds that parents are asking for support with how to communicate with younger children about relationships, sexuality and growing up

The HSE Sexual Health and Crisis Pregnancy Programme (SHCPP) has launched a new resource for parents, ’Talking to Your Young Child about Relationships, Sexuality and Growing Up’
Launched by Minister Catherine Byrne, T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Health, she welcomed the development of the parent’s resource and acknowledged the importance of the initiative, “I’m delighted to launch this resource. It will enable parents to have guided conversations at home and to build a foundation for positive sexual health and wellbeing”.
Speaking about the suite of materials, Helen Deely, Programme Lead said, “We are keenly aware that parents are the primary educators of their children and have a crucial role to play in supporting their child’s development. This resource has been developed in response to research with parents of young children, which finds that they want additional support to help them to have more open conversations with their children about relationships, sexuality and growing up from a young age. This resource will support parents to talk to their younger children about relationships and sexuality in a gradual, age-appropriate way.”
The HSE SHCPP has also released the research report that informed the development of this resource ‘Supporting Parents Communicating with Children Aged 4–9 Years about Relationships, Sexuality and Growing Up’.
Dr Catherine Conlon, Assistant Professor in Social Policy at the School of Social Work and Social Policy, Trinity College, Dublin who led the research said, “The research finds that while different parents approach communicating with their younger children about relationships, sexuality and growing up in different ways, parents generally considered it to be a difficult or tricky topic and one that did not come easy to them, mostly due to the culture that prevailed as they themselves had grown up”. 
She continues “Parents overwhelmingly want to be able to have open and honest conversations with their own children. However they report lacking confidence in doing this. They want to have the skills to be an effective and reassuring source of information for their children, but many feel unprepared to do this and requested support in this area.” 
The resource ‘Talking to Your Young Child about Relationships, Sexuality and Growing Up’ is available to order from www.healthpromotion.ie. It consists of two booklets; a parents’ guide, ‘Talking to Your Young Child about Relationships, Sexuality and Growing up’ and a story booklet, ‘Tom’s Power Flower, a gentle explanation of how babies are made’. 
The research report ‘Supporting Parents Communicating with Children Aged 4–9 Years about Relationships, Sexuality and Growing Up’ and associated research summary are also available to order from healthpromotion.ie and for download from sexualwellbeing.ie.
§  A list of helpful resources and training courses is available at sexualwellbeing.ie 
§  A key recommendation in the National Sexual Health Strategy 2015 – 2020 is the need to develop and promote accessible and appropriate information, resources and supports for parents to enable them to communicate effectively about relationships and sexuality.

Make it a summer to remember with a LOFT Summer Camp!

There’s lots on at LOFT this summer with a wide range of summer camps and activities to choose from!
Summer Camps 2018
10th – 13th of July  |  11am – 4pm  |  €60
A fun filled week for all aged 12-18.  This week will provide a great opportunity to try out some new activities, meet new people and gain confidence.  Activities may include surfing, a visit to Waterworld or other adventure parks, a BBQ at Ards Forest Park and more.
Ready Steady Cook
17th – 20th of July  |  11am-4pm  |  €60
Get ready for this year’s cookery camp and learn to cook some scrumptious starters, mouthwatering mains and delicious desserts.  There will also be a focus on healthy eating, budgeting and if the weather is nice we may have a BBQ too.  Aimed at all aged 12-18.
AMP (Art & Music Project)
14 – 17th of August  |  11am-4pm  |  €60
This week will be packed with creative activities and workshops.  It is a great opportunity to gain confidence, make new friends and learn something new.  Everybody aged 12-18 welcome, no previous experience necessary.
20th – 24th of August  |  11am-4pm  |  €75
This year’s Rockschool is going to be a brilliant week for all young people with an interest in music.  There will be workshops to advance your skills or introduce you to something new.  All aged 12-18 welcome no previous experience necessary.
7th – 10th of August  |  12am-4pm  |  €20
This week is for girls aged 12-18 who want to gain confidence, find out more about relationships and learn how to stay healthy.  This will happen in a fun and active way and will also include a pamper day with make-up tuition, baking fun and more.
How to sign up?
To sign up simply fill out one of the sign up/membership forms. Pick up a form at 16-18 Port Road, Letterkenny.  Bring this form into the LOFT and to secure your place you can pay a deposit of €20.  Places will be given on a first come first served basis.  For more information please contact the LOFT on 074 91 29630 or via email on loftstaff@gmail.com.
Other things happening this summer
Drop in
The drop-in space is a safe and supervised space in which young people can meet their friends, speak to youth workers or simply hang out.  This space is jointly managed by the Youth Information Centre and the LOFT and is open:
Monday & Tuesday 12-6pm
Wednesday & Thursday 12-8pm
Friday 12-10pm 
Saturday 2-6pm
There will be a variety of different events happening during the dorp-in times this summer including band nights, movie nights, cookery events and gaming competitions.  Please keep an eye out on our Facebook Page and the LOFT Instagram for any updates on these.
Individual Support
Staff in the LOFT provide individual support for all young people aged 12-24.  The summer can be a long and sometimes challenging time where young people can feel isolated or anxious about their future.  Please feel free to get in touch if you or someone you know could benefit from a little extra support.  Individual support is targeted and flexible to ensure the young person’s needs are met.
The LOFT is jointly managed by Foróige and Donegal Youth Service and funded by Tusla.  The LOFT is located at 16-18 Port Road, Letterkenny.  Phone: 074 91 29630  Email: loftstaff@gmail.com

Children First training – helping to keep our children safe and free from harm

‘Children First’ refers to Government policy and legislation to do with keeping children safe and free from harm. The training in ‘Children First’ is to do with recognising the signs of child abuse or neglect and knowing how to report any concerns you may have.

If you click on the link below you will find a short video ‘An Introduction to Children First E-Learning’ which explains what is involved in the ‘Children First’ training. You can then click ‘start’ on the ‘Access to Children’s First E-Learning Programme’.  The training is useful to anyone involved with children.


‘Come & Try’ Cycling Event at the Bluestack Sports Hub

As part of Bike Week 2018 (June 9th-17th), Bluestack Sports Hub will be hosting 2 events in Donegal Town. These events are open to children/teenagers with an intellectual disability or autism. BOOKING IS ESSENTIAL, the links to book each session are attached below. Places are limited and refreshments will be provided. Feel free to spread the word. 🙌🚴‍♂️🚴‍♀️

Session 1 – Balanceability Session for children with an intellectual disability or autism aged 3-5 years,   6-7pm Wed 13th June.

Book now on https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/bike-week-balanceability-session-for-children-with-an-intellectual-disability-or-autism-tickets-46795683148

Session 2 – Cycling Skills for teenagers with an intellectual disability or autism,          7 – 8pm Wed 13th of June

Book now on https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/cycling-skills-come-try-for-teenagers-with-an-intellectual-disability-or-autism-tickets-46796110426

Shaping Ourselves and Our Children

“Shaping Ourselves and Our Children”

SOOC is an exciting new course for parents to have fun and learn about how their children develop their emotional and social skills at home.  Parents will learn how to support their children to develop these skills and how these will benefit their children later at school, in their community and throughout their lives.

Shaping ourselves and our children will help us as parents explore:

  • Hopes and fears we have for our children and their future
  • How home shapes our children for the world outside
  • Self-esteem and confidence
  • Communication skills – what parents say and what children hear
  • Learning through Play
  • Respect for diversity and our changing communities.

Each course runs for 4 hours X 4 days under the guidance of warm and supportive tutors, lunch is provided and there is a childcare allowance for parents who need childcare.  On day four of the course parents and children come together for an interactive play session.

To enrol on the next course please give details to your family visitor, nearest Lifestart office or phone Mary at 048 71 365 363


A project supported by the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).

What’s happening in the Niall Mór Centre, Killybegs?

Here are some updates on what will be happening in the Niall Mór Centre Killybegs over the coming weeks:-

Breastfeeding Group: Meet first and third Friday of every month from 2:00 – 3:30 pm.

Laughter Yoga: Taster session of Laughter Yoga is being held on Friday 15th June from 2-3pm and costs €5 per person. To book please contact 074 9741863

Saturday Storytime: next Storytime will be held on Sat 16th June from 10:30 – 12 noon.

Irish Motor Neuron Disease Association: Coffee Morning will be held on Thurs 21st June at the Niall Mór Centre from 10:30 – 12 noon, all proceeds go to the Motor Neurone Association.

Children’s Summer Fun Camp: held from Mon 16th July to Fri 20th July from 10 am – 2 pm and costs €50 per child. This is open to 5 – 8 year olds and must be pre-booked. Contact 074 9741863

Chair Yoga with Sarah: New 4 week course commences on Fri 1st June from 2:00 – 3:30 pm

Clay Modelling Workshop: Coming to the Niall Mór Centre on Fri 6th July from 11 am – 12 noon and costs €8 per child. To book contact Jumpingclay Letterkenny on 0877101475.

Relax Kids Camp: Wed 4th July & Thurs 5th July from 1:30 pm – 3 pm to book contact Bernadine on 0877474232. Classes include movement and games, stretching and breathing exercises, peer/self massage, positive affirmation and visualisation. Helps support kids with their mental and emotional wellbeing.

Basic Food Hygiene Course: This course is run by DLDC and is being held at the Niall Mor Centre on Thur 12th July from 9 – 5 pm. To book please contact Kathy on 0874126400.
Bricks 4 Kidz: NEW DATE: Sat 14th July Lego Workshop from 2 – 4 pm costing €15 per child. Contact 0863894833 to book.
Children’s Summer Fun Camp: held from Mon 16th July to Fri 20th July from 10 am – 2 pm and costs €50 per child. This is open to 5 – 8 year olds and must be pre-booked. Contact 074 9741863
LEGO Summer Camp: Tues 7th – Fri 10th Aug from 9:30 – 12:30 pm costing €75 per child. Contact 0863894833 to book.

Digital assistants – what parents need to know

Have you got a digital assistant in your home – whether it is a Siri, Amazon Echo or Google Home? Have you any concerns about it, particularly if you have young children at home who may want to use it too? Here is a good piece from Zeeko which you might find useful:-