Social Distancing to Social Connection – Limerick-Based Charity Plans Ambitious Expansion

first_imgLinkedin Limerick Ladies National Football League opener to be streamed live Advertisement Limerick’s National Camogie League double header to be streamed live WATCH: “Everyone is fighting so hard to get on” – Pat Ryan on competitive camogie squads TAGSKeeping Limerick PostedlimerickLimerick PostNarrative4 WhatsApp Email Billy Lee names strong Limerick side to take on Wicklow in crucial Division 3 clash LimerickNewsSocial Distancing to Social Connection – Limerick-Based Charity Plans Ambitious ExpansionBy Meghann Scully – July 4, 2020 341 RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHORcenter_img Print Previous articleDentist warns of Covid danger as patients diagnosed with mouth cancerNext articleLimerick shortlisted for #shoplocal VillagePod app launch Meghann Scully The organisation’s work with young people has attracted significant international attention and has been featured by the New York Times, the Guardian, the BBC, and the Irish Times.This has led to growing interest from educators and policymakers in the UK, France, Germany, Greece and elsewhere who are eager to learn from Narrative 4’s success in Limerick.Narrative 4 chairperson and co-founder Colum McCann says despite the obvious challenges presented by Covid-19, the time is right for the organisation to expand and that Limerick is the perfect place to lead the way.“Our work is global but Limerick is at the heart of it all. The city is rich in history, heritage, and culture and the passion of its people is evident to all. Exchanging stories is what we’re all about, and by exchanging our stories we know we can change the world for the better.“Look around at all that is happening right now. People are lonely, isolated, divided. By coming together and exchanging stories, we can bring folks together, to see the beauty in each other, to cultivate kindness, empathy, and humanity. Who better to lead this change than young people?” Colum said.The bestselling author of Let the Great World Spin and Apeirogon says his organisation is well placed to respond to current challenges and he is excited about the future.“We have tough times ahead, there’s no doubt about that, but Narrative 4 is poised to answer the call of our time. We’ve invested heavily in digital development and we now have the capacity to train over 1000 facilitators per year, which has the potential to positively impact the lives of 100,000s of young people.“We will also soon launch a Global Artists’ Network that will bring leading writers, poets and musicians from around the world to connect with young people in Limerick, and we’ll also be facilitating Limerick artists to connect with young people from around the world.” he added.Central to this work is Narrative 4’s iconic storytelling centre at 58 O’Connell Street, which opened its doors in 2016. This was developed in partnership with Limerick City and County Council and the JP McManus Benevolent Fund.Since then, Newcastle West native and Narrative 4 Regional Director Dr. James Lawlor has been at the fore of developing the centre and rolling out programmes that have reached over 7,000 young people.In addition to training hundreds of teachers and youth workers as Story Exchange facilitators, Narrative 4 has run a Boy’s Stories project on masculinity, a Girls’ Stories after-school project with migrant girls, an international project between young and old, a storytelling summer camp, and has hosted regular A Narrative for Limerick storytelling events.Partners and collaborators in this work include organisations such as Limerick Learning Hub, Southill Hub, Poetry Ireland, and Gaisce – the President’s Award.It is this work that led to the organisation being awarded a prestigious Youth Mental Health Award by the Social Innovation Fund in 2018. The award brought with it valuable national recognition and financial support.Other funders and supporters have included Limerick City and Council Council, Creative Ireland, the Lorna Byrne’s Children’s Foundation, the Ireland Funds, the Department of Justice, Regeneron, the Apple Blossom Fund and the Irish Youth Foundation.The organisation also generates revenue by delivering training and workshops to companies and organisations such as Amnesty International, Microsoft, and the Irish College of General Practitioners.Narrative 4 now has over 1000 applications for training from teachers, youth workers and community leaders and is seeking support to expand to the next level.The timing is right according to Dr. James Lawlor, who says the organisation’s recent transition into virtual training and programming means they can reach more people than ever regardless of school closures and other Covid-19 restrictions.“It’s been a challenging time for all of us, there’s no doubt about that,” said McCann. “Recent months have been difficult for colleagues in the education sector, and charitable  organisations are under serious pressure, especially around fundraising.We know too that the Covid-19 pandemic is taking a huge toll on people and recent studies suggest young people are particularly affected. There’s a lot of invisible suffering out there which is why this kind of work is so important.We’re all about bringing people together, fostering connection, creating spaces for people to see they are not alone and that we are stronger when we hear each other and stand by each other.” Predictions on the future of learning discussed at Limerick Lifelong Learning Festival Facebook LIMERICK-based youth organisation Narrative 4 has announced plans to transform its Limerick base into a pioneering European hub for education and training on empathy.The non-profit organisation first opened its doors in Limerick in 2016 and since then has been blazing a trail both locally and nationally.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up Its work focuses on fostering a kinder and more empathic society through an acclaimed programme known as the Story Exchange that is proven to challenge stereotypes, break down barriers, and foster a greater sense of wellbeing, connection and empathy among individuals and groups. Find out more about Narrative 4 at Twitter Donal Ryan names Limerick Ladies Football team for League openerlast_img read more