CASE STUDY: OUR Generation, Ireland

OUR Generation is a cross-border partnership project, which is delivered through seven regional organisations, namely Action Mental Health, Donegal Youth Service, Co-Operation Ireland, Youth Action NI, Youthwork Ireland, PlayBoard NI and Ulster University. Donegal Youth Service works with young people in primary and secondary education as well as ages 18+. Donegal Youth Service delivers the Our Generation programme in Donegal, Sligo, Monaghan and Cavan. Our Generation will look at, and build on, cross community development which strives to further improve relations between communities in Urban Village areas and the border counties. The project will support 36,000 children, young people and adults during its duration. Children and young people will engage in programme design and delivery, including provision of peer support, developing sills and confidence to improve well-being within their communities and act as agents of change, building peace for future generations. Programmes provided will include accessible, age appropriate prevention, early intervention and recovery activities delivered on a cross-border and cross-community basis to support the mental and emotional well-being of children and young people within local communities.

The main objective of the “OUR Generation” project is building positive relations and emotional resilience in communities impacted by four decades of the Troubles and the legacy of the conflict across the island of Ireland. The project budget is €6.1 million.


Topic  Description 
Title  OUR Generation
Location  Local, regional impact level as well as a National profile 
Time  January 2020 – December 2023 
SDG No  3,4, 5, 8, 10, 11, 12, 16, 17 
Brief Description  The main objective of the “OUR Generation” project is building positive relations and emotional resilience in communities impacted by four decades of the Troubles and the legacy of the conflict across the island of Ireland.
Beneficiaries  Young people aged between 12-25 can avail of the Action Mental Health’s ‘Healthy Me’ Programme. Schools & Youth Groups with children aged between 5 – 11 there is Action Mental Health’s ‘Healthy Me’ Programme and lastly for School groups with Children aged between 12 – 24 Action Mental Health’s ‘Provoking Thought’ Programme. Overall the project aims to engage with 36000 young people over its lifespan.
Impact  Communities with a history and ongoing experience of deprivation and social tension are the ones most impacted by the legacy of conflict and division. Poor mental health as highlighted by local groups, youth work practitioners and schools is a barrier preventing our young people and communities from thriving. This project will support meaningful cross-border relationships and build on the good relations focus of the Urban Village Initiative.
Social Innovation  The unique social innovation of the OUR Generation project is that embodies many recognised principles of best practice in engaging with young people in the following ways.

  1. The age range of the target group is from 5 years to 25 years. This requires a multi-faceted approach which engages with each group based on the individual needs but within unified a framework which address wider community issues.
  2. Following from this, the partnership members are actively collaborating in areas which traditionally have been outside their historic age parameters. For example, Donegal Youth Services have traditionally worked exclusively with young people between the ages of 12 – 24 and in this project they are interacting with children in the 5 – 12 age bracket which is presenting new opportunities for organisational growth and learning.
  • COVID-19 pandemic has delayed the operations and the launch of the initiative.
  • The geographic spread of the project participants has proven to be challenging particularly in bring groups together under the strictures imposed by the Covid-19 public health guidelines
Sustainability  The Our Generation project is supported by the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB), and is a collaborative partnership between Action Mental Health (lead partner), Youth Action, Cooperation Ireland, Donegal Youth Service, Youth Work Ireland, University of Ulster and PlayBoard NI. Match-funding for the project has been provided by The Executive Office in Northern Ireland and the Department of Rural and Community Development in Ireland.
Transferability – Replicability  Following the pilot model of the main Garden in Nicosia, the initiative can expand to nearby “gardens” and gradually apply the model to other cities. 
Lessons Learned – Conclusions  Co-design at the heart of successful project development

there is a significant need to nurture and protect the good mental health of young people in areas recovering from conflict and political trauma. 

Open, participatory and transparency are essential keys to project success