CARL Research Reports 2023

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    An exploration of the experiences of mothers in addiction recovery at Coolmine Therapeutic Community
    (Community-Academic Research Links, University College Cork, 2023) Morkan, Aisling; Fernandez, Eluska; Civil Society Organization
    Background: This study explores the experiences of mothers in recovery from drug addiction, specifically focusing on their experience with Coolmine Therapeutic Community services for mothers. This study is a CARL project and was proposed in order to explore ways of enhancing the service for women and reducing stigma. Methodology: This research was carried out using qualitative methods. Six semi-structured interviews with mothers in recovery took place in Coolmine, Mahon House County Limerick. Four of the interviews were conducted in person while two were conducted over the phone. Findings: This study found that the women interviewed had a positive experience with Coolmine Therapeutic Community overall but lacked awareness about the service before initial access. The study also found that mothers presented feelings of guilt associated with unrealistic standards associated with motherhood and the stigma attached to mothers experiencing addiction. Conclusion: The study concluded that there were many positive experiences of recovery in Coolmine Therapeutic Community. These included: positive relationships with staff, friendships made with other service users, and the success of the Parents under Pressure programme. The study also exposed some challenges, such as lack of awareness of service provision which could impact on ability to access. The study also concluded that stigma continues to be a key factor that negatively influences mothers’ experiences of recovery.
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    Determining the value of the Citizen Science Stream Index in assessing water quality
    (Community-Academic Research Links, University College Cork, 2023) Smets, Madelief; Harrison, Simon; Civil Society Organization
    Freshwater ecosystems are increasingly under threat, experiencing declines in both area and quality. In response to this, there has been an increasing demand to monitor these systems. Citizen science has been an increasingly suggested method to aid in resolving this issue. Citizen science is a practice in which people from the public, who are untrained as scientists, aid in data collection for scientific research. An advantage of using citizen science is that it increases spatial and temporal coverage reaching beyond conventional, laboratorybased, monitoring programs. The Citizen Science Stream Index (CSSI) is an Irish biotic river water quality index that has been designed especially for citizen science. This study aimed to determine the validity of this index using the Minane River in County Cork, Ireland, as a study site. A kick sampling method was used to collect 22 macroinvertebrate field samples in the autumn of 2022. These samples were assigned a CSSI field score, and scores of several conventional biological water quality indices. Correlations between the CSSI and conventional indices showed significant results for a few biotic water quality indices, suggesting that the CSSI may be able to contribute towards monitoring river water quality in Ireland.
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    Cork Life Centre with community-based participatory research module, UCC (PG6025)
    (Community-Academic Research Links, University College Cork, 2023) Lucey, Rachel; Chernyuk, Katerina; O’Shea, Jenna; Walsh, Orla; Proietti, Jacopo; Moraschini, Matteo; Murphy, Stephanie; Lynch, Arhonda; O’Callaghan, Amber; Faye, Darcy; Hartnett, Michael; McCormick, Liam; O’Leary, Denis; Sharpe, Ryan; Marah, Katie; O’Callaghan, Angela; Shrestha, Topaz; Hally, Ruth; Burns, Kenneth; O’Mahony , Catherine; Civil Society Organization
    Community-based Participatory Research (PG6025) is a module for PhD students in UCC coordinated by Ruth Hally (RH), Catherine O’Mahony (COM) and Kenneth Burns (KB). There is a different community partner each year as well as different PhD students. In 2023, 10 PhD students took part from disciplines including psychology, environmental science, social policy, and medicine. In 2022, the community partner for this module was Cork Life Centre. It was an experience enjoyed by, and of benefit to, both the UCC and Cork Life Centre (CLC) participants. When looking back at the partnership, it was obvious that there were further areas worthy of exploration. The module coordinators visited Rachel Lucey (Deputy Director) and Don O’Leary (Director) to explore the idea of coming together for a second successive year and we decided to another project for 2023. Rachel invited recent graduates from the Cork Life Centre to participate in the module and seven students agreed to take part. Rachel also participated. UCC provided research ethics approval for the study.
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    “Care and compassion gets these students across the line”: the experience of school staff supporting second-level students from Direct Provision
    (Community-Academic Research Links, University College Cork, 2023) Flavin, Maria; Buckley, Katie; Burns, Kenneth; Civil Society Organization
    As of June 2022, 2,800 children were living in Direct Provision in Ireland, in a system which subjects them to "institutionalized poverty." Education can be a key tool to help children transcend poverty, but students from Direct Provision often face educational disadvantages. This research was done as part of the Community-Academic Research Links (CARL) initiative (CARL) at University College Cork (UCC). Through this initiative, a second-level school identified the need for research to be carried out on the topic of the education of students from Direct Provision. This research examines how staff members in a DEIS secondary school support the retention, educational attainment, and further progression of these students. The study included two focus groups with seven school staff members. The staff identified significant barriers, such as accommodation, dispersal, deportation, language support, and resources, to the education of second-level Direct Provision students. Best practices were also identified, including individualised care, access to DEIS supports, and raising educational aspirations. Recommendations for addressing the gap in service provision for staff members included structural changes, such as implementing proposals within the White Paper on Ending Direct Provision, prioritizing structured EAL support, evaluating the possibility of greater in-house support in schools, and increasing flexibility in the education system. The study concludes that while schools play an essential role in supporting Direct Provision students' education, the government needs to make structural changes to ensure that Direct Provision children have the same educational opportunities as their peers.
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    A social inclusion analysis for individuals with autism, from the perspectives of young adults, parents, and staff at the Rainbow Club Cork Centre for Autism
    (Community-Academic Research Links, University College Cork, 2023) Mulcahy, Alexandra; Kelleher, Sara; Civil Society Organization
    This research project was conducted in collaboration with the Rainbow Club Cork Centre for Autism and the CARL project initiative. The purpose of this research is to provide a social inclusion inquiry into how the social requirements of young people with autism are satisfied or not met from an inclusionary stance. This study is ethically approved by the school of Applied Social Studies, University College Cork. Primary research was conducted and included interviews with seven participants, who represented a variety of viewpoints, including young adults with autism, parents of children with autism, and Rainbow Club staff members who provide services. The interpretations of this study were viewed through a social constructivist lens in order to analyse the effects of societal assumptions when understanding the lived experience of autism. The findings are presented using a thematic analysis, in which five themes emerged; social needs, social enablers, social barriers, autism social inclusion and services provided by the RCCCA that fulfil the needs of persons with autism. The study’s findings illustrated that although society has made some efforts to include persons with autism into society, there is still a long way to go before social cohesion is achieved. The social needs of young people with autism were found to be unmet in a variety of social contexts. Participants were, however, able to identify social enablers in society that enhance participation, for example inclusive social environments, parents, and the support of the RCCCA. The complete integration of people with autism into society, however, was severely hampered by discrimination, a lack of understanding, and the absence of environments that were universally acceptable. Participants indicated that acceptance of autism, as well as universal access to all supports and services, were among their top priorities for achieving social inclusion. The RCCCA's services were also investigated, with the Teen Hub, the Mentorship Programme, social groups, summer camps, and adapted sports among the most beneficial, boosting a sense of independence and social skills. Participants also indicated prospective future services that the RCCCA could provide in the future. In conclusion, this social inclusionary study discovered that society does not fully address the social needs of persons with autism, with participants' lived experiences highlighting how restricting society can be. The RCCCA, on the other hand, was known as a safe, judgment-free environment that encouraged and allowed every person with autism and their family to meet their social needs and be socially engaged. Prospective suggestions were offered, as well as recommendations for future autism research.