Guide to voting in the 2018 Referendum

There’s a referendum this week, and for many this will be the first time to exercise their right to vote. Its an important right, and first time around there is bound to be a little uncertainty about what to do. Today we give you a couple of pointers about things to do, or not do

We have a downloadable poster for anyone that wants a quick guide. It just highlights the basics without too much detail.

voting poster

Where do I vote?

Assuming you are on the register, you should have received a polling card by now.  On the polling card will be details of the polling station where you will vote.  This is normally somewhere close to where you live. It will have your name and address, the name of the polling station and the times that the station is open.

polling card

What if I don’t get a polling card?

Don’t worry. You don’t actually need it. But you do need to bring some identification.  Even with a polling card you might need to show some identification.  Normally photo ID like a passport, drivers licence, Student ID card is enough, but there is a complete list available at
https://www.referendum.ie/general_information/evidence-of-identity-at-polling-stations/
which says the following;

(i) a passport; (ii) a driving licence; (iii) an employee identity card containing a photograph; (iv) a student identity card issued by an educational institution and containing a photograph; (v) a travel document containing name and photograph; (vi) a Bank or Saving or Credit Union book containing address in the constituency or local electoral area (where appropriate); (vii) a Public Services Card;

OR

any of the following accompanied by a further document which establishes the address of the holder in the constituency or local electoral area (where appropriate): (viii) a cheque book; (ix) a cheque card; (x) a credit card; (xi) a birth certificate; (xii) a marriage certificate.

What happens inside the polling station?

When you get in, typically there will be a number of table where staff will check your name against the list of voters they have. The tables might be divided alphabetically for example.

Once a member of staff has checked that you against the register, they will stamp a ballot paper, hand it to you, and you can then go to a polling booth alone, where you can cast your vote in private.  Don’t wait for a friend or anyone else. Only one person is allowed in a polling booth.

It is very important to make sure that the ballot paper is stamped, or it won’t be counted. If it’s not stamped, or there is some sort of mark on it, bring it straight to a member of staff and they will stamp it or give you a replacement.

voting card

The card will look like the example above. You will be given the options of voting YES or NO.  You mark your vote with an X in this referendum. In an election it is normally with a number.

If you want to repeal the Eighth Amendment, place an X inside the Yes box.

If you want to retain the Eighth Amendment, place an X inside the No box.

Do not use a tick or write anything on your card.  If you put anything other than X inside the box you intend then there is a danger of your vote being considered to have been spoiled and not counted.

Once your happy you have completed your vote, fold the page and place your vote into the ballot box. Then that’s it. You’ve cast your vote and added your voice to the democratic decision making process

ballot box

Some other rules

Don’t wear or carry anything that shows how you are likely to vote

Canvassing is banned within 50 metres of a polling station, so within that distance, there should be no posters close by, nor should there be anyone handing out leaflets, or using a loudspeaker to encourage people to vote one way or the other.

While wearing a badge or some clothing supporting once side or the other is not strictly illegal within the polling station, it could be considered campaign material, and you could be asked to remove the item.   The decision on this is down to the staff member managing the polling station.

Don’t take a selfie!

There might be a temptation to take a photo to show that you’ve voted, especially if is your first time voting. Don’t do it. Photography and video is banned within polling stations, and selfies are especially not allowed.  Voting is a private and personal act, and while you might be happy to share that moment with others, the remote chance that someone else might get caught in an image means there is no photography at all allowed.

Wait till you are 50 metres away then tell Instagram or social media of your choice all about it.

Don’t discuss your vote inside the station

Again it could be considered campaigning, but generally its consideration for others. You can chat with staff, and nobody will stop you voting because you are in conversation, but chatting about how you intend to vote or have just voted is generally to be avoided.  Wait till you’re outside.

And that’s it.

It is really very straightforward, but its not something everybody in the world has the right to do, and there are definitely times when a single vote makes a difference. The count will take place the next day. Members of the public can normally go to count centres to watch the count happening.  IN County Wicklow, the count centre is Shoreline Centre in Greystones.

 

Your first vote is an important a rite of passage – one that confirms you as contributing member of the democratic decision making process in Ireland – congratulations!

 

Download a PDF of our basic guide here

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Rough Guide to Student Grants 2018

Its that time of year again when anyone considering going to college in September also starts thinking about student grants.

There doesn’t appear to be any major changes to the process this year, although you can now log in or register using your MyGov-ID number.

susi application

As has been our practice over the past few years we have a basic ‘Rough Guide’ to the grant and we’ve made that guide available here and have distributed it to schools and groups.

Student Grant Rough Guide18 Bray-page-001

Student Grant Rough Guide18 Bray-page-002

 

Click Here to download a copy of the Rough Guide to Student Grant 2018

Safer Internet Day and beyond

This week sees Safer Internet Day (SID2018) on Tuesday 6th. An annual event that seems to be getting bigger each year. This post has a look at some of the resources made available this week that can be used to explore online safety not just this week, but that might be useful at any point in future

All over the world

SID is an international event, so there are national versions of the Safer Internet Day Website  – This means you can look for tips and resources from countries other than Ireland

This first link is a selection of resources from other countries
https://www.saferinternetday.org/web/sid/resources/gallery

Irish page – http://www.saferinternetday.ie/resources/

UK version – https://www.saferinternet.org.uk/safer-internet-day/2018

Australia – https://www.esafety.gov.au/saferinternetday#resources

Ireland

Much of the advice is around starting conversation between parents/carers and their children/young people.  There are plenty of tips to be had around protecting your profiles on social media and apps, but also about how ot report any inappropriate or unwanted contacts.

A  couple of great starting points in Ireland are Webwise and Spunout.

Webwise has explainers, resources you can download or order hard copy from them. There is a lot here for parents, young people, teachers and youth workers. Yesterday they launched a new resource for schools to be delivered by An Gardai called ‘Be in Cntrl’

webwise be in ctrl

Spunout has its ‘Online Safety Hub‘.  This has a huge amount of information about how different apps work, how to report abuse, how to change your settings to stay safer
http://spunout.ie/onlinesafety

 

hub_twitter_standard.jpg

 

Cybersafe is also useful. They deliver talks to schools all over Ireland, and have recently been running a pilot programme in Co Wicklow. This week they launched their flyer for parents about how to talk to your child about staying safe online
cybersafe flyer

Australia’s e-safety page has comprehensive list of apps and social media sites looking at settings, abuse and privacy.  You can also find out about their e-safety commissioner on their website
https://esafety.gov.au/esafety-information/games-apps-and-social-networking

In the UK this page from the South West Grid for Learning is aimed at young people and parents offering advice and information around issues resulting from sexting incidents – So You Got Naked Online (note the support organisations are British)
https://d1afx9quaogywf.cloudfront.net/sites/default/files/Resources/So%20you%20got%20naked%20online.pdf

Also from the UK, a Snapchat Checklist – https://d1afx9quaogywf.cloudfront.net/sites/default/files/Resources/Snapchat%20Checklist%20interactive.pdf

 

Other tips

The Head of the Digital Youth Council of Ireland – Harry McCann recently tweeted with a small number of common sense tips for online safety  https://twitter.com/TheHarryMcC/status/956908507709747202

 

EuroPol has released a series of images with tips for banking online, shopping online and for dealing with requests for photos

 

Wicklow Comhairle na nOg also launched their Cyberbullying Charter. This was created by young people in County Wicklow following a survey and consultation with young people right across Co Wicklow. It has messages for bullies, those bullied, organisations and all stakeholders in a bullying situation

cyberbullying charter

 

Safer Internet Day seems to be an event that is becoming more important each year, with an increasing number of events and a greater need to improve not just our children’s digital literacy, but a greater awareness of how parents and adults in general can promote a safer internet

An Easy Guide to an Easy Mind

How do you cheer yourself up? Is there something you do that just helps to wash away the stresses of the day?

It was from a conversation around those questions that a young women’s group from Arklow put together a small journal called ‘An Easy Guide To An Easy Mind’.

 journal cover

During the year we worked with the girls group from The Vault youth centre in Arklow.  The result of that work was a 42 page well-being journal filled with ideas from the young people about things they do to relax, distress and generally cheer themselves up, and now we make it available for free download.

journal spotify

The journal doesn’t aim to tell young people ‘how to be happy’, but shares some of the groups favourite things to do, while leaving space for users of the journal to create their own lists or activities that fit with the different sections. Some of them are simple and easy to do, like a playlist of feel good songs or think about the simple pleasures that we do day to day, while other section help us to think about how to get a good night’s sleep.

 

The design of the book tries to bring a personal scrapbook type look to it. Hours were spent cutting out letters from magazines to create page headings, and old typewriter was found to try give it an old look. The girls worked with an artist who helped them with the design, but also by bringing to life the girl’s ideas for a little cartoon figure (called Alan) who would pop up from time to time (including to the cover) to offer some tips.  So if the journal isn’t always the most slick professional looking book of all time,  this is (mostly) done on purpose.

 

 

If you like mindfullness colouring books, then we have a drawing especially done for the journal by Deirdre Burke, a local artist from Arklow who worked with the girls.

 

Untitled_04012018_110424

 

We aim to distribute the book among all of the secondary schools in Co Wicklow, as well as Youthreach centres and youth centres in the county.  We currently have a very limited amount of hard copies available from YouthSpin office in either Bray or Arklow.

 

You can also download the journal from this page. We would encourage you to share the journal, or links to this page if you think it might be of use to people.

Try our Spotify Playlist of feel good music

Click HERE to download An East Guide to an Easy Mind

Opening a bank account with no photo ID or proof of address

Each year a number of people get in touch who are struggling to open a bank account because they don’t have photo ID or letters with their home address that the bank will accept.  So this post aims to make a couple of suggestions that might help when it is time to open your first bank account.

 

bank account

Many young people this summer will be opening their first Bank Account.  This might be for their SUSI payment, first job, or may just be because it’s one of the usual things you do as you get older. The process of opening a bank account should be straightforward.

  1. Turn up at a bank
  2. Fill out some forms
  3. Give them your money

Unfortunately it’s not that easy. Due to a crackdown on money laundering, banks now have a responsibility to make sure that people opening up bank accounts are really who they say they are.

 

What do you need to open an account?

To open a new bank account you need Photo ID, like a passport, driver license or an EU identity card. Some might accept the Age Card. You will also need proof of address.  This means a letter or something official sent to your house that has your name and your address on it. This could be a bill for electricity, gas etc. A Credit Union statement or Post Office book might do. A letter from the Revenue or something from the social welfare office may also be ok.  A mobile phone contract won’t do.

Each bank should be able to give you list of what documents they will accept when it comes to opening your account. They may be slightly different in each bank, so it’s worth checking before your go.  We found that their lists weren’t very easy to find online, so we’ve found lists from the main banks so you don’t have to look

Allied Irish Bank –  https://aib.ie/our-products/current-accounts/personal-current-account-identity-requirements

Bank Of Ireland –  https://www.bankofireland.com/help-centre/faq/identification-documents-need-open-current-account/

Permanent TSB – https://www.permanenttsb.ie/help-and-support/help-with-banking/required-documents/current-accounts/

Ulster Bank – http://digital.ulsterbank.ie/_shared-content-area/what-you-need-to-open-an-account.html

 

So what do you do if you have no Photo ID?

If you have no photo ID, and you don’t have the money or time to get a passport or driver license, and you are too young for an Age Card then you can get a ML 10 Form signed by the Gardai and this can be used.

You can download the form here http://www.portcu.ie/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/ML10-ID-Form.pdf or they should have them in the Garda station.  Bring along any documents you may have with you to help the Garda be sure of your identity.

 

And if you don’t have a proof of address?

We frequently hear, “I live with my parents so I have no bills or official letters in my name sent to my address.”

It is not unusual for a young  person to not have bills in their name, nor to have worked or a had any official dealings with the government yet. You might have had something with your PPS card, or when applying for a medical card, but if you were not expecting to use it, you may have thrown out any letter than came with the cards.
A tip we got from a bank official was to apply to the revenue office for a P21 end of year statement from the revenue office. Details of how to do this are on the revenue website here http://www.revenue.ie/en/online-services/services/common/request-or-view-your-end-of-year-statement-p21.aspx

Basically you phone your local tax office and they will send one out to you. It won’t take long.  Don’t worry if you have never paid tax or had a job, they will write to you telling you that you have paid no tax. This is what you want, as you will then have a letter from the Revenue addressed to you at  your house.
So, in summary

  • Go to Garda station and get an ML 10 form filled for your photo ID
  • Get a P21 in your name sent to your home as your proof of address

 

Opening a bank account is a bit of a rite of passage – a step along your route to adulthood and the responsibilities that come with it.  If you will need to open one in the coming months or even further along, prepare now. Keep some letters, and if you can afford it, get a passport. But if you need to do it now or fairly soon, hopefully the couple of tips above will help. Failing that, talk to the bank staff and get their advice, because they really do want your money.

Rough Guide to the Student Grant 2017

There’s a lot to think about when going to college. Financial support is one of the big ones. Each year Crosscare Youth Information service produces a ‘Rough Guide to the Student Grant’. Below is the 2017 version, available for you to download and share freely.

 

You can download the ‘Rough Guide to Student Grant 2017’ here

There have been a few small changes to the grant for 2017, but for most people the criteria and figures will stay the same.  If you are eligible for the ‘Special top-up rate’ the threshold has risen to €23,000. The grant for some Post Graduate students has been reintroduced. Mature students that had previously dropped out of college can now apply for a grant for a plc course and there are changes around counting bursaries and for children of naturalized citizens. More detail about this can be found from the Dept of Education or you can click on this link to view their recent announcement of the scheme.
Our guide will give you a basic introduction to the grant, mainly around the types of questions we get mostly get asked about, including the thresholds, figures and eligibility criteria.
Some of the other costs of going to college:

  • PLC Programme Participant Contribution of €200 per year for Level 5/6 (Colleges for Further Ed).  You are exempt from this if you qualify for The Student Grant.
  • Student Contribution of up to €3,000 per year for Level 7/8 (ITs/ Universities). You are exempt from this if you are eligible for The Student Grant.
  • Fee for student facilities e.g. internet, services
  • Exam fees
  • Costs for specific courses e.g. Art material for design courses, – some course material can cost over €2,000
  • Travel Costs

 

If you are having any difficulty with any of the student grant process, whether that s uncertainty about one part of the application, or you would like us to sit with you and help complete the full  application form, then we are happy to help with that difficulty.

You can give us a call, contact us via social media or email. We also have offices in Bray and Arklow where you can meet an information worker, but we can also make arrangements to visit other parts of the county to meet with groups or individuals.

A PDF version of the Rough Guide can be downloaded here below

Student Grant Rough Guide2017

 

Guide to Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships in Ireland have been undergoing a bit of a change of late.  Good news is there are a lot more opportunities now.  Our youth Information team in Crosscare have put together a rough guide to introduce you to the basics, but the important thing to know is that you can contact us if you have any specific questions that we can help you with.

Feel free to download and share our Guide to Apprenticeships

apprenticeshipsbweb-1

What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is the term used to describe a period of training where you learn mostly on the job, mixing blocks of college work with full time employment. As an apprentice you will earn as you learn.  You will be paid for your work and you will gain internationally recognised qualifications.

 

Pre-Apprenticeship

A pre-apprenticeship course is for young people who want to do an apprenticeship but don’t have the minimum entry requirements.

These courses have both hands-on and classroom based modules, and aim to develop skills, knowledge and expertise to gaining an apprenticeship in a range of trades or industries.  For information you can contact us or SOLAS.

Craft Apprenticeships

Craft Apprenticeships are coordinated by SOLAS.

Entry requirements:

There are different entry requirements depending on the sector and job.

  • Be at least 16.
  • Have a minimum of five D grades in the Junior Cert or equivalent (QQI level 3/4).
  • In reality, however, many employers would prefer to take on those with a Leaving Cert or equivalent.

If you can’t meet these criteria, you can still become an apprentice if you:

  • Complete an approved pre-apprenticeship training course.
  • Are over 16 and have worked for at least three years in a relevant industry that SOLAS approves and have competed a successful assessment interview.

Female Bursary

To promote the entry of women into the designated apprenticeships, SOLAS/ETBs offer a bursary as an incentive to employers  to encourage them to recruit more women.  More information can be found on the old FAS website

 

Occupational Apprenticeships:

There are new apprenticeships available in areas such as;

 

NFQ level 5 to 9 is offered through the individual industries.  There are different entry criteria depending on the sector and job.  The most common way is through the Leaving Cert, however there are also other ways to meet the criteria.  Individual Sectors have different application dates and methods.

Where to find apprenticeships:

To help find employers Careers Portal have a great list of where to find potential employers here.  Also keep an eye on their ‘news’ section which details current opportunities some of which are apprenticeships.  They also have a lot of information about existing apprenticeships including training and entry requirements.
You can also contact the relevant professional bodies such as the Accounting Technicians of Ireland, Insurance Practitioners of Ireland etc.  A quick tip would be to join their mailing list, keep and eye out for recruitment drives and talk to potential employers.
Call into your local to SOLAS and make an appointment to talk to someone about apprenticeships. Check with SOLAS for details of employers that are looking for an apprentice.   Also their website Apprenticeship.ie gives advice on how to find apprenticeships etc.
If you are interested in Construction you can register your interest and create an account with apprentices.ie also see their vacancy page for current opportunities.

You can also check out vacancies online with Jobs Ireland.

Quick tip – keep at it and be persistent!

 

For more information download and share our Guide to Apprenticeships

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If you can’t find the information that you need about apprenticeships we are here to help you. You can find us in our office in Bray at St Bricin’s on the Herbert Rd, or in The Seomra Youth Centre. We are also in The Vault youth Centre each week, and can be contacted through the youth workers in Newtownmountkennedy and Kilcoole.

Our phone number is 01 2050502, or you can email youthspin@crosscare.ie.  You can also find us on Facebook or Twitter