Healthy Families Programme- Parents Plus

👦A new parenting programme for families in Donegal.👧
Are you keen to learn more about family connections, healthy food routines, healthy mealtimes and managing technology among more? 👨‍👩‍👧‍👧🍎🍉🥦🤸‍♀️🧘‍♂️
This programme is suitable for parents of children aged 0-12.
📆 Starting 23rd February
💻Online via Zoom
📞Call Chloe on 0860675186 or 📩email to book a place

Managing Anxiety in Children and Helping Them to Worry Less

The online talk ‘Managing anxiety in children and helping them to worry less’ by Dr Elizabeth McQuaid Senior Psychologist with the HSE on 8th July was so good that the plan is to run the event again! This free online event will happen on Wednesday 29th July 7.00 – 9.30pm. If you are interested in this event, you need to click the link  and register

Issues covered will include:

  • What does anxiety look like in children and when is it a problem?
  • What helps and what doesn’t help?
  • Practical strategies and information to help you and your child.

The Donegal Child and Family Support Networks have plans for further events in the months ahead including

  • Managing Anxiety in Teens
  • Managing Anxiety in Children with Dyspraxia


Dr Temple Grandin Webinar

Empowering Autistic Individuals to be Successful

Join Dr. TEMPLE GRANDIN, the World’s most Famous and Influential person with Autism and outspoken proponent of Autism Awareness for a very Special Pre-Recorded, On-Demand Webinar on Tuesday, May 5th, 2020 at 7.30pm until 8.30pm.

With this Exclusive Once-off Webinar with Dr. Temple Grandin you will:
✓ Gain INSIGHTS into the Mind of Someone LIVING

✓ Discover INTERVENTIONS, THERAPIES & SUPPORTS which have Enabled her to be SUCCESSFUL
✓ Transform Your VIEW & UNDERSTANDING of AUTISM with Temple’s first-hand LIFE STORY
And much more…

Venue: Online
When: Tuesday, May 5th, 2020
Time: 7.30 pm – 8.30 pm
Your Investment: FREE for a limited time only!
* Limited Places Available

BOOK your place here:


Sensory Friendly Santa

Do you know a child with Autism or Sensory Processing Difficulties?

One thing on the list for many families this Christmas is a visit to Santa’s grotto. But for children with autism and sensory processing difficulties it can become a stressful experience, with too many people, too much noise, queuing, crowding and bustle!
LYFS Sensory Santa session is for children with autism and sensory processing difficulties.
We will set aside some time where families can relax and enjoy a magical Christmas experience. We turn up the lights and turn down the Christmas jingles.
This year we have added
  • Snowball Alley- Fun for all the family
  • Snowman Picture Knockdown
  • Santa’s Family Room with personalised Family Christmas Story
  • Christmas Tree Decoration making
Santa will meet with families individually rather than arranging group visits with multiple families. The session lasting approx 45mins!
Hot chocolate, marshmallows and sweets,  for all!!
LYFS Sensory Santa is on  Thursday 12th December 2019. Booking is essential and time slots will be allocated on a first come first served basis. A reserve list will exist in case of cancellations.
Numbers are limited on each session, so once you book we will be unable to change you to a different time slot
The visit is FREE however we are accepting donations for LYFS Random Acts of Kindness taking place Friday 13th December 2019
If you would like more information on LYFS Sensory Santa or to book call us on  0861237917

Restorative Practices Video launched by Foróige through Donegal ETB’s Peace IV funded Project

Foróige launched a new video tonight aimed at explaining the concept of restorative practices to young people and adults.

The project was completed as part of Donegal ETB’s Restorative Practices Project which successfully secured €200,000 of EU PEACE IV funding in 2018. It is supported by the European Union’s Peace IV Programme, managed for the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB) by Donegal County Council. This project involves nineteen post-primary schools (ETB and non-ETB) and Youthreach (early school leaver) centres from across the county and Foróige.

Restorative practices provides an ethos for making, maintaining and repairing relationships and for fostering a sense of social responsibility and shared accountability. It understands that when harm is done to people and relationships, it creates obligations and liabilities and focuses on repairing the harm and making things right.

The video was created by young people with the support of a motion graphics designer and Foróige staff. It began with Restorative Practices training for the fifty young people and staff year over the course of a day. The young people expressed an interest in becoming involved in the production of an animated video that would explain Restoratives Practices in a clear and succinct way. The aim was that the video would be used both for those actively engaging in Restorative Practices as well as those who were introducing the concept to young people, youth workers, teachers, trainers in both youth services and education centres and schools for the very first time.

During a Restorative Practice residential, Foróige staff facilitated workshops with the young people to reflect on the training they had received and what they had learned. They worked on their script and met with the motion graphic designer to develop their ideas and capture what they wanted on the final video. Two of the young people did the voice-overs on the video which was a first for them.

Speaking about the project, one of the young people said, “Taking part in the Restorative Practice training and project was a great opportunity; I got to learn skills in Restorative Practice and how to use this in school and home and I also met lots of new friends.”

Foróige Project Leader Susan McLoughlin noted, “The young people achieved so much in the process of making the animated video. Most of them had never even heard of Restorative Practices before. To think that they now have a professionally made video that will explain and promote Restorative Practices as a positive way of dealing with conflict situations is a real credit to all of them. Our thanks to Donegal ETB, Donegal County Council and the Special EU Programmes Body for funding the project through the Peace IV programme.”

The project is funded under priority 1 of the Peace IV programme, promoting peace and reconciliation and under action 4.1 of the local authority peace plan which focuses on the promotion of positive relations at a local and regional level, characterised by respect and where cultural diversity is celebrated and people can live, learn and socialise together, free from prejudice, hate and intolerance. Match-funding has been provided by the Executive Office in Northern Ireland and the Department of Rural and Community Development in Ireland.

Donegal ETB project coordinator, Dr Sandra Buchanan noted, “This is a brilliant video. Restorative practices is not an easy concept to understand and this video presents an understanding that’s clear, that’s easy to grasp and introduces the concept outline in a nutshell. It is such a useful resource for introducing this topic to young people and adults.”

Donegal County Council Peace IV Programme Co-ordinator, Caroline McCleary, congratulating the young people remarked how she was delighted to see this video, “Peace emanates from conflict and as we put these projects together we can see that we’ve moved on from some of that conflict.  It gives me great pleasure to see projects like this rolled out that involve young people and I hope that the new skills they have learned will help them as they go through life.”

The restorative practices project seeks to improve positive relationships between and for young people, staff, parents/guardians, volunteers, train participants in accredited and non-accredited approaches to Restorative Practices and to develop an understanding of alternative ways of dealing with conflict.

The video can be viewed here.

Pictured at the launch of their Donegal ETB Peace IV funded restorative practices project are some of the young people who were involved in making the video. Included are Susan McLoughlin (Foróige Project Leader), Una McGuinness (Restorative Practices Project Administrator), Dr Sandra Buchanan (Restorative Practices Project Co-ordinator) and Caroline McCleary (Donegal County Council Peace IV Programme Co-Ordinator).

Calling Teenagers Aged 12 – 18 years

Do you know a teenager who would be interested in exploring what citizenship means?

A Youth Citizenship programme will be running in Letterkenny and Buncrana on Friday evenings 7-8:30pm from mid November (not 1st November as stated on the posters) and participants will be engaged for 26 hours as follows:
  • 12 workshops delivered over 12 x 1 ½ hours sessions.
  • Joint Activity 4 hours
  • Community Event 4 hours
The Youth Citizenship & Leadership Programmes focus on youth coming from cross community backgrounds including indigenous Irish Catholics and Protestants along with other cultures in Irish society. Participants learn about the similarities and differences of their cultural background to
eliminate perceptions.  To build a connection between participants the programme will directly address current issues affecting youth such as negative impacts of social media, bullying, racism, sectarianism and discrimination based on class and difference.  The Programme aims to build the
confidence, personal development and propensity of participants to understand and accept difference. The programme is fully funded by SEUPB and there is no cost to the participants. Items we will cover includes:
  • Define what citizenship means to them
  • Research their community’s needs
  • Illustrate ways in which to benefit their community
  • Plan a project to meet an identified need using a planning model
  • Organise and manage their project
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of their project

This project is run on a cross community basis by the Belfast Youth Project which is part of the Belfast Unemployed Resource Centre. You can contact Neil Gallagher for more information on 074 9123890.

Celebrate World Mental Health Day – Host a Connect Café

World Mental Health Day takes place on the October 10th 2019, and the theme this year is Suicide Prevention.

Research shows there are simple things you can do as part of your daily life to protect and improve your mental health. Connecting is one of the ways you can do this.

This World Mental Health Day, Mental Health Ireland is encouraging you to Connect as one way to nurture and enhance your own mental health. We’re calling on you to connect with others across the country by hosting your own Connect Café.

·        When: October 10th, 1:00pm – 2:00pm

·        Where: You choose your own location

·        How: Download your own Host your own Connect Cafe pack


The goal of the Connect Café is to open up conversations and strengthen the connection with yourself, with others and with your community.

Bring your very own Connect Café to your workplace, club, community or home, by downloading our step-by-step Guide here: Host your own Connect Cafe pack


For queries, please contact our Communications team:


Enjoy, and get connecting!

Bill Vaughan – Development Officer (Donegal)
Mental Health Ireland
Mental Health Ireland HQ
1-4 Adelaide Road
Co Dublin
01 284 1166
Local website:

For mental health support and advice please call the Samaritans on their free phone number 116 123

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

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