Having Our Say: Children’s Voices in Housing Estate Regeneration

Dr Cathal O’Connell and Dr Siobhan O’Sullivan from the School of Applied Social Studies led an exciting project in 2013 that involved 78 children and young people from Knocknaheeny aged 6 to 19 years.  The project set out to hear their views about the regeneration of their area using a variety of creative methods including focus groups, photography, art and rap.

Dr Cathal O’Connell says that ‘While estate regeneration can affect children and young people’s lives in many ways, their voices are seldom heard in regeneration programmes and this research represents a first step in doing so.’

The research found that far from being apathetic children and young people have clear ideas and expectations of regeneration.  They want a safer neighbourhood, a cleaner environment, a better reputation for the estate, and improved life chances and opportunities, including education and work.  They also want to be involved in the decision-making around regeneration.

The research shows the importance of actively listening to the voices of children and young people and enabling them to influence change.  The report recommends that Regeneration Guidelines and Estate Management Practice include consultation methods with children and young people and that local employment clauses be incorporated in regeneration programmes, especially in relation to apprenticeships and employment for local young people and unemployed persons.

The research was funded by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, the Irish Research Council, and the College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences, UCC.

School Applied Social Studies
Discipline Social Science
Staff members involved Dr Cathal O’Connell
Dr Siobhan O’Sullivan
Dr Lorcan Byrne
Date: 2014

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