Social Inclusion Programme
DNWAP hosted its fourth annual Social Inclusion seminar on Feb 1st 2019 in the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Santry. Seventy two individuals attended the seminar, representing thirty seven Local Community groups. This years seminar also included the launch of DNWAP Strategic Plan ‘Towards 2022’ by Minister for Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform Mr. Paschal Donohoe, TD.
Tommy Simpson, a member of DNWAP Board and Chairperson of DNWAP Social Inclusion Appraisal Committee opened the seminar and acted as MC for the event. Tommy paid tribute to the valuable work being done by Local Community Groups ‘quietly behind the scenes’ and noted the importance of the seminar in introducing the work of these groups to a wider audience.
DNWAP was delighted to welcome Liz Waters, CEO of An Cosán Virtual Community College as guest speaker. Liz has been active in community education for over twenty five years. Under her leadership An Cosán has embarked on a path to virtualise its curricula from basic education to degree level programmes. Liz spoke on ‘Opportunities and Challenges for Community Education in a 21st Century Social Inclusion Context’, highlighting the importance of education in addressing socio economic inequality in Irish society, particularly the unique contribution digital technology can make in addressing educational disadvantage. DNWAP worked in collaboration with An Cosán VCC in 2018 in delivery of an introductory non accredited Community Leadership course and a QQI accredited (Level 6) Community Leadership programme. DNWAP provided bursaries for residents and community activists in the Dublin North West area to attend these programmes. An Copán’s ‘blended’ learning approach combines digital education with face to face workshops and significantly enhances accessibility of education, particularly in disadvantaged communities.
Liz Water’s keynote speech was followed by a presentation on the application process for DNWAP financial supports for 2019 presented by Mary Corridan (DNWAP Community Development Manager).
A number of Community Groups then presented on their work during 2018. These presenting groups were supported by DNWAP Social Inclusion programme. The Social Inclusion Programme includes financial support, a variety of technical supports including group training and mentoring.
Ronnie McConnell presented on behalf of ‘Muck and Magic’ a community garden based in Ballymun. This garden provides a relaxing environment where local people can acquire skills and knowledge in horticulture, develop new connections in their community and produce food for their families.
Brian Noland presented on behalf of the Ballymun Men’s Centre Group. The Men’s Centre Group provides peer support and a social outlet for men vulnerable to isolation. Brian spoke about the range of activities the group engaged in during in 2018. Group members have identified local and national history as areas of interest and have visited a number of museums and sites of historical interest in Dublin and nationally. The group’s main focus is on general well being of its members, of engaging members in stimulating activities and of providing g opportunities for personal growth and development. Participation in the group has also enhanced the confidence of some men who have gone on to take up employment.
Members of Ballymun Active Disability Interest Group (BADIG) presented on a video production project supported by DNWAP during 2019. BADIG worked in partnership with Ballymun Communications in development of these videos. Alex Sproule (Chairperson) spoke of the history of BADIG and the advocacy role of the group over the past 20 years. The videos focussed on the history of BADIG, the need for advocacy in the area of disability and the many environmental hazards faced by disabled people as they go about their daily activities. Both Lana Kurasidze and Clare Whelan spoke about the many challenges they faced but also about the many ways in which they refused to let their disability restrict their participation in life, particularly their involvement in the community, in sport and in fashion. BADIG intend to use these videos to raise awareness throughout the community, with schools, community groups and statutory agencies.
Andy O’ Hara and Michael Collins (both representing Pavee Point) presented on a Traveller Men’s Health programme- The Pavee Gloke Project. This 6 week programme combined outdoor activities with discussions in relation to traveller men’s health. Participants in the group identified issues they wished to discuss. The outdoor activities provided an opportunity for group members to develop trust and this foundation contributed positively to the development of peer support. The presentation highlighted the challenges faced by traveller men including discrimination and inequality. The experience of the programme also highlighted the value of traveller led initiatives and the willingness of these men to share their experiences and challenges in the context of a safe space for discussion and personal growth.
Una Caufield, Chairperson of DNWAP welcomed Minister Pascal Donohue, members of Dáil Eireann, local political representatives to the launch of DNWAP’s Strategic Plan ‘Towards 2022’. Una also welcomed representatives of The Department of Employment and Social Protection, the Department of Rural and Community Development, The Health Services Executive, Pobal and The Local and Community Development Committee. Una highlighted the range of supported offered by DNWAP to facilitate enhancement of individual and community life including mediation, career guidance, links with local employers, Enterprise supports , Education supports, Jobs club and supports for community groups. Una highlighted DNWAP targets as outlined in the strategic plan and also thanked our funders including: The Department of Rural and Community Development, The Department of Employment and Social Protection, The HSE, Pobal, the Local Community Development Committee and the European Social Fund. Without the support of these bodies DNWAP would be unable to engage in Social Inclusion Work.
The Minister for Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform Mr. Paschal Donohoe, TD welcomed DNWAP’s Strategic Plan and commended the ambitious targets detailed in the plan. The Minister also commended the accessibility and brevity of the plan. Minister O’ Donohoe remained for sometime after his presentation and engaged in discussion with representatives of community groups.
Social Inclusion Awards
This year saw an increase in interest in the DNWAP Social Inclusion Programme and a significant increase in the number of applications received. In total twenty five groups were awarded. These awards support a range of activities with target groups including children with special needs, travellers, new communities, and people with disabilities, older people, mental health, vulnerable men and young people. While DNWAP was unable to award a number of worthwhile proposals, we will continue to offer other supports to these groups including training, mentoring and support to apply for other funding streams.