Students concentrate on water safety

This year’s Patrician Acad-emy transition year Young Social Innovators (YSI) class decided to concen-trate their efforts on water safety. They discussed a number of project ideas but the issue of water safety kept coming to the fore, especially in light of recent tragedies in the Blackwater.

One of the first things they did was draft and distribute surveys to 1st and 6th year pupils. They wanted to get an indication of their level of understanding relating to water safety, andfelt that this would give a good starting point to assess the needs of the community

They wanted to reach out in a fashionable way to young people so they designed three different types of wristbands with water safety and the emergency number and fire service on the inside. They sold these in the school, St Mary’s Secon-dary School and the local national school, wanting to get teenagers thinking and talking about water safety while at the same time raising much needed funds for Mallow Search and Rescue. From the results of the survey they realised that many young people were not aware that you call the fire-brigade in the case of an emergency; some didn’t even know the emergency number!

They also visited Mallow Search and Rescue, the RNLI and the coastguard in Crosshaven as a means of educating themselves and doing research. They met with the Mayor of Mallow, the Town Clerk and local councillor Ronan Sheehan to inform them about what they were doing and to pitch for fun-ding to run a water safety course in Mallow pool.

They contacted a qualified and experienced water safety instructor, Erik O’Regan, who volunteered his time to give a water safety course, both in school and in Mallow Swimming Pool. He gave two theory lessons in school and two more practical swimming lessons in the pool.

An art competition was also held to raise awareness of water safety among the school population.

Having travelled, listened and worked so closely with Mallow Search and Rescue, the students felt they wanted to make a fin-ancial contribution to help with their expenses, running costs etc., so they raised €350 for the cause and presented the cheque to Tom Woulfe.

They have submitted the written part of the project and performed at the regional speakouts in Cork, and must now wait until April to see if they have qualified for the final in Dublin in May.