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  • Glenmore's Michael Barron Wins Award for Work With Young Gay People


    Kilkenny People - May 15, 2009

    The One Foundation in association with Social Entrepreneurs Ireland has awarded the 2009 Captain Cathal Ryan Scholarship to Kilkenny man Michael Barron, Director and co-founder of BeLonG To Youth Services. BeLonG To is an organisation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender young people aged between 14 - 23 years operating in Dublin city center and around the country.

    The scholarship was set up and launched in 2008 to commemorate and celebrate the life of Cathal Ryan and consists of an annual fund of €25,000 to be awarded to social entrepreneurs or non-profit leaders in Ireland to support their further education or personal development.

    Michael from Glenmore co-founded BeLonG To and was its first employee in 2003. Prior to that Michael spent a number of years working with young migrants and homeless young people. He holds a degree from Trinity College Dublin and an MA in Youth and Community Studies from Brunel University in London. Michael has published a number of articles on the experiences of LGBT young people in Ireland and has been centrally involved in affecting social policy change to improve safety and inclusion of LGBT young people in Ireland.

    BeLonG To developed from a voluntary youth group - OutYouth - which had been meeting in Dublin on and off for 15 years and was run by young people for young people with the support of Gay Switchboard Dublin.

    Today BeLonG To provides one-to-one and group support for LGBT young people to allow them to safely engage with confidence building, personal development and peer support. It also affords young people a space where they can experience inclusion, acceptance, social justice, fun and safety. 

    BeLonG To's work also involves advocacy and campaigning which provides a national voice for LGBT young people and their issues, and a National Development Programme which supports the development of designated LGBT youth work outside Dublin. As such it is unique in its work in Ireland.

    Making the announcement, Danielle Ryan said that Michael Barron was a worthy winner of the 2009 Cathal Ryan Scholarship, "Michael is an outstanding example of how social entrepreneurs and non-profit leaders throughout this country are developing and implementing new and innovative solutions to some of Ireland's entrenched social problems, solutions that will have a lasting impact on their communities and on Ireland as a whole. His vision in setting up BeLonG To and the work that the organisation is doing to support Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgendered young people in a whole variety of ways is inspiring" she said.