Dare2Dip! a water safety and wellbeing training programme, developed by The LightHouse at Inishowen Development Partnership has won a prestigious STAR (Showcasing Teamwork, Awarding Recognition) Award in 2022. 

#Dare2Dip! was aimed at anyone considering starting to dip or novices who may have recently taken up swimming in open water.    Aisling Sheehy, who developed and managed the programme, says, “We were delighted and extremely proud that #Dare2Dip! has won such a prestigious award from Aontas in the Health & Wellbeing category.  It is a testament that lifelong learning comes in many various forms.  We had a super team involved and an expert panel of trainers and facilitators on board, who helped make this programme such a success. We had support to deliver #Dare2Dip! from members of the local Inishowen swimming community from Buncrana to Culdaff and Shrove, this helped make it interactive and it was a wonderful success.  We received support for the concept from the outset from the Irish Coastguard and we were successful in sourcing funding from Donegal County Council DFI fund to deliver this innovative programme which included a super kit bag, full of safety equipment – the rest as they say is history!”. 

Angela, a participant of the #Dare2Dip! programme credits the programme for positively changing her life.  “I was experiencing some health issues and it was recommended to me by a consultant to try getting into the tide to help relieve pain and build strength.  Even though I live five minutes from the sea, I didn’t have the confidence to go in by myself at the time.  Coincidently, I noticed an advertisement for the #Dare2Dip! programme at Inishowen Development Partnership and it was exactly what I needed.  The programme was excellent from start to finish, I would be cautious of the water, but I learned so much!  The other positive impact it has had on my me personally is that through #Dare2Dip! I got connected in with a local swimming group, The Point Swimmers, in Buncrana so I now have a whole new social aspect in my life.  I feel more confident, and I have been in the water almost every single day since I completed #Dare2Dip!” 

The programme was delivered to 60 enthusiastic participants who were from all around the Inishowen area and 100% of them said on completion that they would recommend the training to their family and friends if it was to run again in the future. 

Shauna McClenaghan, Joint CEO of IDP, says, “the #Dare2Dip! programme was typical of the innovative approach that we, as an organisation, take to local development.  We are extremely grateful to the Inishowen Municipal Councillors at Donegal County Council for providing the funding for this programme under the Development Fund Initiative.  As we approach the end of the year, our fantastic team are busy planning ahead for next year and IDP have lots of exciting initiatives and impactful projects coming up in Inishowen during 2023.

The STAR Awards recognise outstanding work in adult learning and is open to all groups/ organisations across the island of Ireland. Aontas are currently seeking nominations for the 2023 Star Awards, closing date for applications is Friday 18th November at 5pm. 

Members of ‘The Point Swimmers’, Buncrana pictured with Aisling Sheehy IDP with the Dare2Dip! STAR Award