Nexus assignments have covered an extensive range of themes and approaches. Since 1990, hundreds of projects have been undertaken by Nexus staff and associates, working within local partnerships and international research networks. Planning, evaluation and research assignments have seen the development of community-based resources, training materials, academic publications, online learning tools and practical supports. As well as working directly with communities and target groups affected by exclusion, Nexus is also regularly commissioned to conduct policy analysis and present recommendations for national and international statutory bodies. This section includes a look at some recent highlights. A full archive is being developed and will be available here once ready.

Some recent highlights include European work with schools, youth centres, teachers and NGOs across Europe on issues of sustainability, inclusion and disability (CEPNET and Virtual Mobilities for All), Irish research for Threshold and ALONE into the experiences of older people living in the private rental sector in Ireland, as well as an ongoing project in Ireland that provides support to community based organisations and their national funder on strategic planning and evaluation (SPEAK).


The WYRED project (netWorked Youth Research for Empowerment in the Digital society- Evaluating Children’s Rights in a Digital World) brought together researchers, academics, youth organisations and technologists from across Europe to create a space for young people to examine their rights and engagement opportunities within digital society. These young people were facilitated by the partners to start conversations, develop projects and manifestos, autonomous spaces as well as creative and political responses. They worked within schools, universities, youth centres and community settings to promote their vision about how the emerging digital society should listen to young people and take account of their needs and ideas.

Paul Butler from Nexus was brought into this Framework project to act as evaluator as well as to support partners in their data collection and management processes. Through this project, Paul worked closely within a range of policy and practice partners including the European Network of Ombudspersons for Children, the Early Years Organisation and Youth for Exchange and Understanding in order to share evidence on youth empowerment methodologies and digital learning. Resources and project reports are available on the project website.

Virtual Mobilities for All

The global pandemic has shown how much digital technology can provide solutions to situations that seemed dependent on face-to-face interaction. We have seen how teaching and learning opportunities have been organised through face-to-face, online and hybrid modes. We have also seen the same dynamic being applied to international mobility. It can be short or long term, synchronous or asynchronous; it can also be physical, virtual or hybrid. None of these forms of learning mobility act as a substitute for the other; on the contrary, each can and should bring its own opportunities and the development of specific skills. The area of virtual mobility opportunities is gradually opening up to more and more people. A key question follows as to how can such international mobility be extended to those who remain for different reasons distant from it in a an inclusive and accessible manner.

This European project has brought together a team of academics, researchers, youth workers and NGOs with expertise in the disability sector. The focus has been on exploring how best to promote opportunities for harder to reach young adults and those with disabilities to participate in international activities. The team developed a set of tools that were tested across a set of youth and community centres in six European countries, where young adults were facilitated to engage virtually with each other in a series of discussions and events. The aim has been to better understand the types of supports that young people with a disability and those harder to reach would need to allow them the chance to avail of ErasmusPlus or other mobility options. All these resources are available on the project website. The tools allow for mediators, family members and young adults themselves to fully explore what is involved in taking on such an opportunity and what are the types of skills and supports that are required.

Connecting Children for Change

The CEPNET Project worked with children and teachers in primary school settings with the aim of introducing them to new approaches in relation to promoting empowerment and self-activation within the classroom.

A wide range of resources and training materials were developed by the CEPNET team that are now being used in schools and other settings across Europe. These supports allow teachers to bring sustainability issues into the classroom in a way that gives the lead to the children and young people in developing their own voices. The project allowed for hundreds of young people to create projects and responses to express their own ideas as to how sustainability concerns can be discussed and shared. Some such projects can be viewed here. The students took action in many areas, including in organising clean ups within their communities, beaches, schools and playgrounds. They met politicians at all levels to ask questions about how young people were being involved in decision-making. They also responded creatively through music and art. One such song has been used within the network of schools and beyond as a way of highlighting their collective concerns.

The project was built around a pedagogic framework that is linked into national curricula, so that teachers and schools can ensure that the materials are aligned to the relevant competences. The framework is explained in detail here.

In this ErasmusPlus project, Nexus worked with partners in Italy, Austria and the north of Ireland.

Inappropriate Private Rental Sector for Older People

Nexus has recently completed research for the national housing charity Threshold and ALONE, finding that a quarter of older renters expect to remain in the private rental sector for life, as they felt no other accommodation options were available to them. The research was carried out with older renters, and linked to an analysis of Residential Tenant Board datasets.

Older people told us about the extremely high levels of vulnerabilities that they were facing. A key finding highlighted that 42% of these participants experience high stress levels in the private rental sector associated with the insecurity of their accommodation, explaining that this stress was impacting all aspects of their lives. The substantial cost of renting in the private rental sector was also referenced, with over half of interviewees in receipt of a Housing Assistance Payment. While this was essential to their capacity to afford accommodation, some experienced a shortfall in the HAP payment covering the cost of their rent. Interviewees from NGOs working within the sector echoed these conclusions.

Nexus Research Co-operative, Ireland