Shaping Ourselves and Our Children

An update from Lifestart on the SOOC project

Shaping Ourselves and Our Children (SOOC) – One Year On!

We have just completed our first year of ‘Shaping Ourselves and Our Children – SOOC.  And we want to share with you what parents, grandparents and people who have children in their lives think of SOOC. 650 people have completed SOOC and 99% would recommend this course to anyone who is a mum, dad, grandparent or simply anyone who wants to know how to support children.  SOOC is supported by the EU’s PEACE IV programme and managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) and was developed by the Lifestart Foundation and its partners – Lifestart Services CGL, Sligo Family Support Centre, the Dunluce Family Centre, Barnardos Strabane and The Junction.

“Everything we say and do shapes our kids, doing this course has made me realise many things that I would never even thought of” was the feedback from one parent.  This is the main overriding message we get from those who have completed SOOC.   We help parents understand how a child’s self-esteem and confidence is shaped at home.  We look at how the language parents and grandparents use impacts on how a child sees himself and others in our communities.  Many parents believe that SOOC has been hugely beneficial to them.  As one parent remarked “This course was a big eye opener for me!”

Happy children make happy homes!  And happy homes make happy communities.  SOOC enables groups to talk about parenting issues that are important to them.  SOOC also provides tuition and amazing resources on key topics around communication, empathy, behaviour, play and diversity.  Run over 4 days where parents get support with babysitting costs and lunch or supper depending on the time of the course.  Most agree this is not just a wonderful course but it is a great opportunity to meet other mums, dads and grandparents!

SOOC will continue for another two years and we know that you won’t regret doing SOOC.  If you are a group, for example breast feeding, parent and toddlers, dads support groups, Men’s Shed etc., we would love to hear from you.  This course is FREE and available to anyone who has a child in their life.  Keep an eye out for our September SOOCs or contact Mary on 087 210 7496 or email for more information.

Match-funding for this project has been provided by the Executive Office in Northern Ireland and the Department of Rural and Community Development in Ireland.

Best Wishes from the Lifestart Foundation Head Office.
Kind Regards

Pauline McClenaghan

Dr. Pauline McClenaghan
Lifestart Executive Director
Tel: +44 (0) 2871 365363
Fax:+44 (0) 2871 365334
Lifestart – educating parents, developing children

Alcohol and other drugs – the hidden harm

Are you interested in exploring the hidden harm caused to family life by alcohol and other drugs? LYIT together with the Alcohol Forum are offering a level 9 Minor Award which is also part of their Master of Science in Therapeutic Interventions for Alcohol and other Drugs

This award combines theory with practical application and practice based theory from local, national and international guest speakers and lecturers. It is a response to the current impetus within Community, Education, Justice, Health, Social Work and Social Care sectors to respond with knowledge and skills as to enable them to work confidently with young people and their families whose lives are challenged by someones alcohol or other drug use.

See below for details on how to apply

Trust Planning Workshop for parents of children and young people with additional needs

Donegal Down Syndrome Association together with Financial Wellbeing are running a workshop for parents of children with additional needs. This workshop aims to show parents how they can go about setting up a trust fund to provide for their child into the future.

Financial Wellbeing also provides useful informtion in booklet form available here – just click the link

Trust planning seven steps

Trust planning A to Z guide of entitlements

Parenting programmes coming to Ballyshannon this autumn

Parents/Guardians in Ballyshannon are being offered lots of opportunities to enrich their parenting skills this autumn. Parent Hub Donegal is delighted to announce that three of the Parents Plus programmes are going to be offered. Parents Plus programmes are evidence based programmes developed in Ireland to support positive parenting and help parents develop strong, nurturing and effective relationships with their children – from toddlers to teens.

The Parents Plus Children’s programme is for parents of children aged 5 – 11 and will run on Thursday mornings 10 – 12:30 for six weeks beginning on 12th September in the parish centre at Kilbarron parish in the town. The programme supports parents to communicate positively with children, encourage good social skills and build self-esteem and cofidence while also offering skills to deal with misbehaviour.This programme is being supported by Donegal ETB Community Education Fund. The facilitators for this programme will be Fionnuala Carr from LifeStart and Fintan Gallager from the Bluestack Foundation. To book your place click the link and complete the form

The Parents Plus Adolescent programme is for parents of teenagers 11 – 16 years. This programme is being funded by the HSE Staff Wellbeing programme and is open to any parent/guardian in the community. It will run in An Clochar, the HSE building in Ballyshannon, beginning on Wednesday evening 2nd October 7-9pm and running till Wednesday 20th November with a break over half term. This programme helps parents build effective communication with their teenager, develop conflict resolution and problem solving skills with the aim of helping their teens grow into responsible young adults. The facilitators for this course will be Celine Bradley and Sally Mooney from Springboard/Finn Valley Family Resource Centre. To book your place just click the link and complete the form

Alongside the Adolescent parenting programme we will be running the ‘Working Things Out’ programme for adolescents themselves. This programme helps teenagers to develop good cognitive behavioural therapy based skills to deal with the challenges they encounter in life. The programme is supported by the HSE Staff Wellbeing programme and is open to any adolescents within the community. Parents can discuss this opportunity with their teenagers and a place on the programme can be booked by clicking the link and completing the short form. The facilitators on this programme will be Claire O’Kane and Chloe McGinty from Springboard/Finn Valley FRC.

If you have any questions please contact Bairbre on 087 1736667 or email