Student Grants – don’t leave it too late

The closing date (August 1st) for student grant applications is fast approaching. Hopefully you have already registered with SUSI and are well on the way to getting your application sorted. If not, we have some information that might be useful.

If you are struggling with your application, you can contact or drop-in to YouthSpin at Crosscare – Bray Youth Service on Herbert Rd in Bray. We are there Tues-Thurs in St Bricin’s (beside the doctor’s surgery). We are on Facebook, Twitter and of course on the phone. We can also arrange to use Skype to discuss applications with students.


Rough Guide to College Grants

Crosscare Youth Information Service publish an at-a-glance guide to student grants which might be useful. We’ve attached both pages below as images, but also attached PDF copies for you to download.

Also attached is a PDF file called Student Financial Support, which gives you some more detail about financial support available to students.


A quick guide to student grants

A quick guide to Student grants


Useful websites for information about student grants

The first place to go for student finance information is the Student Finance website, which has  comprehensive information about all types of grants and fees.

Grants are processed by a single body called SUSI who have a useful help-desk that you contact by phone on 0761 08 7874, or by Facebook or Twitter

A useful place to visit is the Student Finance forum on You can ask questions or just lurk and view questions by others. They also have forums on different educational institutions and for secondary students. Please be aware that we can make no guarantees about the accuracy of information on message boards.

The state website for citizens information also has a section on Student grants

Where else to go for financial support in Co Wicklow?

If you are living in a RAPID area of Bray you might be able to get a grant through the Bray Area Partnership

If you excel at sport, Wicklow County Council runs the Katie Taylor Bursary each year. Closing date for applications for 2014 has passed, but watch for details in May next year.




rough guide 2014



Summer’s here and the time is right…

Summer fun


Summer now feels like its hitting top gear. The Summerfest is starting in Bray, and the local youth projects and summer camps are underway.  It’s an expensive business keeping children and young people busy, so what can families do for little or no cost?

A question we at YouthSpin and colleagues in the youth service often get asked is, ‘is there anything for children and young people to do over the holidays?’ We generally don’t hold a list of summer activities, as inevitably you miss out on a certain amount, but usually the workers will have an idea of some of the local community based summer projects that happen each year. There are also a large and growing number of commercial summer camps that happen each summer in different towns that will let you get involved in sport, art or general activities.

The difficulty for many families is the cost of these projects and camps.We make some suggestions for families to do for little or nothing around County Wicklow?


Summer projects
The community based summer projects are a low cost option, usually run by volunteers who fundraise through the year to make the project happen. They usually cater for local children only with a mix of activities run in local community centres with trips out and about. They are generally a lot of fun, and really well run.


The Spinc Glendalough

The Spinc overlooking Glendalough lakes

Take a walk
We are really lucky in Wicklow to have a fantastic place to go walking. Whether you prefer to go inland to the mountains or stay on the coast there is plenty of choice.

There is of course the Wicklow Way which stretches right through the county, but there are more local walks to be found all over the county. Bray Head is always popular with visitors, but how many locals are aware of the less strenuous path up from the roundabout at the Southern Cross, running beside the golf course. Wicklow Head, Brittas Bay, along the quays or beaches in or near Wicklow Town and Arklow, the Spinc at Glendalough or by the Lakes in Blessington are all options around the county.


If you are too old for a summer project, maybe you could get involved as a volunteer. It would be probably too late to volunteer this year as the Garda Vetting process can take weeks, but you can volunteer though out the year. Volunteering is a really rewarding experience and can boost your CV that might be missing some work experience. Check out Wicklow Volunteer centre to see what is available in your area


Local Festivals

In Bray they have the month long Summerfest with it’s airshow and big slide, but from Enniskerry to Arklow there is some sort of festival happening during the summer. Check local news or social media or posters in shop windows and see if there is something happening where you live.

Edit: Some festival events happening around Wicklow county (Thanks to Wicklow Arts Festival FB page)


A day on the beach

Have a day out on the beach, but mind where you walk

Have a day out on the beach, but mind where you walk


If the weather is suitable there are any number of beaches along the East coast. They aren’t all gorgeous and sandy like Brittas, but each has its own unique charm, and a bit of local knowledge can help find the best spots. Watch out for parking costs at Brittas Bay though.



Catch up on your reading

We wrote a piece for the European Youth Portal which recommended young adult or teen books that would be turned into movies. Reading for pleasure is a much more satisfying experience than reading for school. Wicklow libraries are free to join, giving you access to thousands of books, as well as audio books or music cds. If they don’t have what you are looking for, try to borrow items from other libraries.


Make a video

If like us at YouthSpin you could spend hours watching Youtube videos, why not create your own. A lot of phones offer HD or at least decent quality video, as do regular digital cameras. Alternatively put a load of photos of your summer adventures together in a slideshow. Share with your mates, and hey presto, you are a Youtube hit.


The list goes on, and only limited by weather and imagination. Summer should be a time for exploration and creating memories that will be the subject of those nostalgia filled family get-togethers in years to come. We have a great county, so get out and enjoy it.


End of the day

Time for a digital detox?

Do you suffer from Nomophobia – A fear or anxiety that comes from not being able to use your smart phone? Then maybe it’s time you had a digital detox? YouthSpin looks at simple tips to help reduce our obsession with our smart phones.

Nomophobia definition

Nomophobia can be a real problem

Nomophobia is a modern complaint. The word comes fromno mobile – phobia’ and refers to how   people feel when they can’t use their mobile phone. If that sounds familiar, then try these simple questions

  1. Do you feel anxious and/or panicky when you don’t have your phone with you?
  2. How often do you check your phone for notifications? Is it every few minutes?
  3. Do you get phantom vibrations?
  4. Do you get worked up about running out of battery power or losing reception?
  5. Do you sleep with your phone under your pillow?
  6. Do you regularly lose track of conversations that happen in person because you are checking or thinking about your phone?
  7. Do your check your phone for notifications last thing at night, and first thing in the morning?
  8. If you left the house to do a simple message, but realised you had left your phone behind, would you have to return immediately and get it?
  9. Do you use your phone while using the bathroom, or during other ‘intimate’ moments?

If you can answer yes to all or most of these you might consider whether you are overly attached to your phone.It doesn’t mean you have ‘nomobphobia’, or have a big problem but it might suggest you use your phone a bit too much.

Experts are taking the idea of nomophobia seriously, with some researchers calling on psychologists to place it on their ‘Diognastic and Statistical Manual of Mental disorders’.


Try switching your phone off when you go to bed

Try switching your phone off when you go to bed

Don’t panic!!

All is not lost. If you have plenty of money then you can avail of one of the companies now offering ‘Digital Detox’ holidays.

If however, like most people that is not an option, then we have some simple tips can help reduce your need to have a phone

  • Switch off your phone when you go to sleep – There is normally very little that is so urgent that it  can’t wait till the next day. If there is an emergency, chances are there are other ways of getting in touch.
  • Agree on ‘no-phone’ zones in your house. Choose places or times in the house where phone use is not allowed, such as the bathroom or kitchen table while eating meals.
  • Switch phones off or leave them out of reach when with family or friends. Just put them in a different room
  • Some people, when out for dinner or social event, make an agreement that all phones are placed in the centre of the table, and the first person to reach for the phone during the meal has to pay the bill
  • Build time-out session into your day – 30 minutes without your phone. Build up to longer times or add extra time-outs.
  • Use Apps that block social media notifications for particular times you need no distraction

Technology is great. There are so many benefits and I love my phone, but sometimes it is a relief to be without it. So now I’m weaning myself away from my phone, to leave it at home and enjoy what I’m doing without distraction and to give the people I’m with my full attention. Give it a go, you might just find you enjoy it.

Photos by Marianne Masculino and Birgerking

Tap tap…is this on? Hello…

Welcome to the new YouthSPIN blog.

Here we’ll be attempting to add new and relevant information for young people in County Wicklow.

We will use this blog to add a mix of original articles written by staff at YouthSPIN or by our colleagues in Crosscare, –  (and in time by young people from County Wicklow) –  with links to information from other agencies, such as Student grant information from SUSI.

Its a tough task to be available to young people across a county, so we are trying to mix up the ways we provide information to those that want or need it. As well as this blog, we will use Facebook, Twitter, and Skype to connect with young people that we can’t get to have good old fashioned face to face contact with.

People can also drop in to our office in Bray, and we can arrange to meet with people in the East Wicklow Youth Service office at The Vault. Of course there is the usual phone and email contact available to all, and our details for that is on the ‘about us’ page




So if you are a young person up to the age of 25, and you aren’t sure about something – perhaps you’re planning to go to college and are looking for financial help, maybe you did your Leaving Cert last month and aren’t sure what your next step should be, maybe you’re planning to travel to Europe or beyond and are looking for information about that, or perhaps you are updating or writing your first CV..whatever it is, we can try to meet your information needs.