CARL Research Reports 2012

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    Age-friendly Bandon? An assessment of Bandon's outdoor spaces and buildings using the World Health Organisation guidelines on age-friendly cities
    (Community-Academic Research Links, University College Cork, 2012-04-18) Byrnes, Carol; Burns, Kenneth; Network of Social Groups; Civil Society Organization
    Where we live, the physical, social and cultural environment impacts hugely on how we live. An age-friendly community provides access to public transport, outdoor spaces and buildings, appropriate housing, community support and health services. It also supports people to be active participants in society and provides greater opportunities for civic participation and employment. This study evaluates the age-friendliness of Bandon’s outdoor spaces and buildings. It does this by harnessing the knowledge and skills of local community members to assess the age-friendly supports and challenges of Bandon’s physical environment. Members of the community photographed the town’s environment and then discussed these images to highlight the impact of age-friendly features and difficulties on their daily lives. This research suggests that while Bandon’s environment does have age-friendly aspects, it also requires improvements to become more age-friendly and accessible for its citizens. It highlights that high traffic volumes, poor driver/pedestrian relationships, poorly maintained footpaths and perceptions of safety all impact negatively on the community member’s use of the town. It concludes that age-friendly planning benefits all members of a community by facilitating accessibility, mobility and involvement of people, of all ages, for the duration of their lifetimes.
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    The impact of fostering on natural children and their involvement in the fostering process: invisible, vulnerable or valued?
    (Community-Academic Research Links, University College Cork, 2012-04-18) Duffy, Claire; Forrest, Eilish; Burns, Kenneth; Irish Foster Care Association (Waterford Branch); Civil Society Organization
    Fostering is an activity that involves the family as a whole and has an impact on all members of the family unit. Adults aren’t the only people that foster: children are also involved in fostering. In Ireland, foster children placed with foster carers’ is the most popular form of alternative care for foster children. While there is a body of research carried out on foster care, most of the research focuses on foster carers’ and foster children. There is little research that focuses on the effects of fostering on natural children. Therefore, this research aims to fill a gap in the literature by exploring natural children’s experiences of living with foster siblings. This study reports on the findings of a qualitative study that was conducted using semi-structured interviews with eight natural children of foster carers’. Due to ethical considerations this research focuses on natural children who are over 18 years of age. This study found that fostering has both positive and negative effects on natural children. It also found that for the most part natural children are voiceless and powerless throughout the foster placement. The results of this small scale research have implications for social work practice. The author argues the importance of recognising the role natural children play in the foster placement and the importance of their active involvement in all aspects of the fostering process. It is in the author’s view that training and support groups need to be established to support natural children in their role. This study also argues that natural children need to be more visible in policy and legislation and they need to be heard in all aspects of the fostering journey from assessments through to reviews.
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    An exploration of long-term retention of volunteers in Foróige, a national youth work organisation
    (Community-Academic Research Links, University College Cork, 2012-04-18) O'Higgins, Dawn; Halton, Carmel; O’Suilleabhain, Fiachra; Foróige; Civil Society Organization
    This research explores long-tern volunteer retention in Foróige; a national youth work organisation. Foróige have found that their volunteer numbers are not increasing inline with the number of people they are Garda Vetting, this would appear to mean there is a drop off of existing volunteers. Foróige and the researcher wanted to understand what motivates people to volunteer and what keeps them committed to volunteering in the long-term. A literature review was conducted and qualitative methods were used, within an interpretivist perspective, to collect data in relation to volunteers. Volunteers, who had been involved in Foróige in the long term, were interviewed in relation to their thoughts, feelings and perceptions about sustained volunteering in the Organisation. This information was then analysed and a number of significant findings emerged. The findings of the study show that training, support, praise and recognition are key factors in volunteer retention. Using the literature review and these findings a number of recommendations were made in relation to supporting continued volunteering within Foróige.
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    More than a meal: a qualitative study of the needs of diners in Cork Penny Dinners
    (Community-Academic Research Links, University College Cork, 2012-05-03) Magee, Denis; Powell, Fred; Cork Penny Dinners; Civil Society Organization
    Background to the Study: This study began as a BSW dissertation, and as part of the Science Shop initiative by University College Cork. Research was carried out in Cork Penny Dinners, an independent charity based in Cork city. The charity provides a nourishing mid-day meal, seven days a week all year round. The charity hopes to reconfigure their existing service, and consequently sought the views of the diner’s, with a view to including their perspectives in the planning process. Objectives: The aim of this study was to elicit the views of the diners of Cork Penny Dinners, in order to ascertain if the charity could improve on its current level of service. Interviews were conducted with a sample of the diners to gain their perspectives of the service, and a brief demographic profile compiled. A literature review was undertaken to explore the themes of food poverty, social exclusion and social support. Methodology: The methodology used was qualitative while the theoretical perspectives utilised were phenomenology and interpretivism. Primary research was executed by means of twenty semi-structured interviews with diners, and a further eight with volunteers. A literature review was conducted as secondary research. Results: All of the respondents expressed satisfaction with the service provided by Cork Penny Dinners. A sense of sincere gratitude was evident throughout all of the interviews conducted. The diner’s spoke of the non-judgemental and courteous approach adopted by staff and volunteers when using the service. Eighty five percent of respondents reported having some social support from family or friends, however, seventy percent of the sample lived alone. A large percentage of respondents stated that the possibility of spending time in the company of other diner’s was an important aspect of their visit. Insufficient income and food poverty were dominant issues in the lives of diners. All of these findings are discussed in greater detail in chapter four. 8 Recommendations: All respondents expressed complete satisfaction with the quality of the midday meal they receive. Some structural changes to the layout of the premises were suggested by diners in addition to extended opening times. These recommendations and other individual suggestions are discussed in more detail in chapter five. Author’s conclusions: This was a rewarding and interesting research project. Although the diners made recommendations, their satisfaction with and gratitude for the service is noteworthy. It has been a privilege to work with the diners, staff and volunteers of Cork Penny Dinners, and above all, to facilitate in bringing the voices of the diners to the fore.
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    An exploration of the views of young adults aged 18+ on the YMCA ‘Ground Floor Open Youth Space’
    (Community-Academic Research Links, University College Cork, 2012-04-18) O'Shea, Gill; Burns, Kenneth; Young Men’s Christian Association – Ground Floor Open Youth Space; Civil Society Organization
    This study began as an MSW dissertation as part of the Science Shop Initiative by University College Cork. The aim of this research is to evaluate the YMCA Open Floor Youth Space from the perspective of the young adults. Central to the focus of ‘Ground Floor’ is providing an ‘open door’ youth space which is run by the young people themselves in conjunction with youth worker David Backhouse. This research firstly critically appraises literature and policy which is germane to the young adults who use ‘Ground Floor’. Contemporary issues which shape the future of youth work in Ireland are also examined: ‘universality versus selected service provision’, professionalism and voluntarism and state’s involvement and funding. Qualitative research was employed in the undertaking of this study. The theoretical perspectives applied to this research were, epistological and interpretive perspectives. Primary research was undertaken in the form of two respective focus groups, each focus group consisted of four Ground Floor members ages 18+. Purposive sampling in the form of snowballing was utilised to recruit participants. The young adults who participated in the research expressed appreciation and trust in the Ground Floor. The young people who participated in the focus groups provided a multi faceted view of the youth space, proving that every individual who walks through the door has a different experience. The benefits and positive contributions it has to young people’s lives is evident. For instance Ground Floor enables its members to: play an active role in activities and decision making, access a wider support network, receive support in their personal and social development in addition to gaining a sense of pride and satisfaction for the work they have contributed. There was a sense of ‘shared ownership’ of Ground Floor amongst the young adults; they viewed the space as ‘their own’. Many young adults attributed social integration and the opportunity to be exposed to a culturally rich environment as positive impacts which Ground Floor has had on their lives. Following this research it is recommended that the Ground Floor seek funding and resources to maintain the work they are undertaking with young adults. Further research to charter the progress of the space should be undertaken by both the young adults themselves and through future Science Shop Projects. It is hoped that the space may expand to other areas of Cork city and county.