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SpunOut.ie’s core philosophy is “by young people, for young people”, and the Action Panels are a fundamental part of this. The Action Panels work to provide direction on the information needs of young people, generate solutions for these needs and engage and facilitate the voices of young people. The importance of the Action Panels is exemplified by its formal constitution into our organisational structure with elections to the Board of Directors, and this gives us the direction and leadership to stay in touch with the views of young people from across the country.
While many organisations now have youth reference groups, our Action Panel system was one of the first structures when it was established and this has facilitated us in gaining significant expertise in best practice youth participation. Nearly 140 young people from all over Ireland make up the SpunOut.ie Youth Action Panel and it is one of the main avenues where we seek to amplify young people’s voices. In early 2018 the Action Panel went from one overall Panel to four Regional Action Panels and in 2019 this grew further with the splitting up of East Midlands into East Midlands and Dublin. In 2020 there was also the additional creation of a Traveller Action Panel, this panel is specifically made up of young Travellers to promote their voices at SpunOut.ie.
Members of the Action Panel will be responsible for the following:
One of our goals for Action Panel members is to ensure that they gain meaningful experience from their participation and in early 2019 a Training Programme for Action Panel members was begun. Action Panel members’ had and still have numerous training and workshop opportunities through their participation. However these were previously run on an adhoc basis and because of this it was decided to create a structure with clear objectives and learning outcomes.
The Action Panel structure is made up of five Regional Action Panels, one Traveller Action Panel and one National Action Panel. The National Action Panel meets in Dublin and is made up of six elected members from each Regional Panel. Each Regional Panel and the Traveller Action Panel meets three times over the year and the National Panel twice. We also have a yearly Town Hall event which brings together Action Panel members from all the country and this normally takes place in Dublin.
The counties covered by each of the Regional Panels are: