The Blue Skies initiative is a local group which brings new parents together and teaches them skills to develop children’s health and wellbeing.

Based in the Oakfield Industrial Estate in Clondalkin, the initiative launched the interim findings of two of their research programmes on Tuesday 4th December.

The first research piece evaluated the outcomes for their Upto2 programme which over 300 local mothers have availed of since the start of the initiative in 2015.

As part of NUI Maynooth’s Enrich Programme, which conducted the research, it was found that mothers who took part in the programme were more likely to read to their babies and have more confidence in their role as mothers.

Karen Costello, coordinator of the Blue Skies Initiative told Dublin Gazette:

“These findings are really encouraging.

“Reading to your child is crucial to the development of early literacy skills and research has shown that children from disadvantaged areas by the age of three have three million less words than their peers.

“The first few years are such an important time in the life of a child and can be quite isolating for parents.

“The fact that they feel more confident in their role will be of huge benefit to their relationship with their child.”

The well-being study carried out by Dr Caitriona Delaney of Archways, with 2nd year students in three Clondalkin secondary schools showed that worryingly, female students’ levels of anxiety are high, a statistic confirmed by both the students themselves and their teachers.
Students also felt a lack of confidence in their academic ability.

“These findings are interesting and the next step is to compare them to other data sources such as the Growing Up in Ireland cohort,” Karen Costello said.

“But it is important for initiatives like Blue Skies to be aware of findings such as these when planning future programmes and putting interventions in place to serve the needs of the community”.