The Asthma Society of Ireland is calling on primary and post primary schools in Donegal to get involved in in their new “Asthma Youth Champions” programme. A panel of four young asthma ambassadors from around the country will be created as part of the programme to gather their thoughts on how asthma services can be bettered for young people in Ireland. The asthma Society will also equip these youngsters with the resources and know-how to become “Asthma Champions” and promote asthma change in their school and community.

Sarah O’Connor, CEO of the Asthma Society of Ireland, said: “The aim of our “Asthma Youth Champions” programme is not only to allow young people to express their opinions on how asthma services need to be improved for the younger generation, but also to equip them with the resources and skills they need to promote asthma awareness and become asthma champions in their school and community.

Four deserving schools will be chosen, one from each province. From these schools one “asthma champion” will be picked to form a “National Asthma Youth Council”. The council will be asked to discuss a number of asthma issues that effect young people and ways in which the Asthma Society can improve their services for the youth of today. We will use these ideas for all children’s publications and advocacy work for young people that we carry in the future. The Asthma Society will seek a meeting on the key priorities identified by the Asthma Youth Champions with the Oireachtas Committee for Children and also with the Minister for Children. The council will also be equipped themselves with the expertise and resources they require to promote asthma awareness in their own school, community and hopefully one day, their country. We are encouraging all schools to get involved by completing the expression of interest form on asthma.ie.

There are a number of supports that the Asthma Society will provide to selected schools:

  • Completing an audit of asthma awareness and asthma safety in the school,
  • An asthma education session delivered by an asthma specialist nurse for teachers and students,
  • Information booklets, classroom games and STEM engagements, videos and an Asthma Council project planner,
  • A final information session delivered by students on their Asthma Champion programme of activity (including planned meeting with Minister for Children).

    All activity will be built around ensuring that the school is supported that they can change the asthma culture in their school and community. The school will also receive publicity in regional and/or national media broadcast and print media throughout the programme.

    Loretto Callaghan, Managing Director, said:We are delighted to be involved in the Asthma Youth Champions programme. 170,000 children in Ireland have asthma. More than one person dies every week in Ireland from asthma. It is extremely important that young people are equipped with the resources necessary to deal with asthma emergencies. It is equally important that these resources have been tailored for young people and that young people have had input in their creation.”

    We believe that young people will have a crucial role to play in the Asthma Society’s mission to save and improve the lives of people with asthma and it is essential that their voices are heard.

    For more information on the “Asthma Youth Champions” programme and how you and your school can get involved, go to https://www.asthma.ie/news/invitation-asthma-youth-champions.

If you have a story or want to send a photo or video to us please contact the Donegal Now editorial team. Between 9am and 5pm Monday to Sunday please call 074 9112712. Between 5pm and midnight please call or text 086 792 2103. Or you can email [email protected] at any time.