Ministers McGrath and O’Brien launch the Government’s Social Inclusion Programme Annual Report
 
• Report details numbers of groups and individuals supported in 2021
• ‘Learning Brief’ – A comparison of Women and Men supported by SICAP also published
• Programme internationally recognised with UN award
 
Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath TD, joined Minister of State with responsibility for Community Development and Charities, Joe O’Brien TD, today (Tuesday 12th July) to launch the ‘Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP) Annual Report 2021’
at the Mansion House in Dublin.

SICAP is co-funded by the Department of Rural and Community Development and the European Social Fund.

It currently employs approximately 600 community workers across Ireland working to reduce poverty and promote social inclusion and equality through local engagement and partnerships between disadvantaged individuals, community organisations and public sector agencies.

The Programme was recently awarded the prestigious UN Award for Public Service during Covid. A ‘Learning Brief’ which examines the different experiences of men and women who have been
supported by the programme was also launched today.

The SICAP 2021 Annual Report highlights the vital importance of the Programme in addressing inequality and improving outcomes for the most disadvantaged groups and individuals in the country.

In 2021, 2,646 Local Community Groups and 26,483 individuals were supported by the programme.
The report also acknowledges the role of the Local Development Companies (LDCs) and Local Community Development Committees (LCDCs) who deliver the Programme at County and local area level.
 
Speaking at today’s launch, Lord Mayor of Dublin Caroline Conroy said:
“I am delighted today to welcome colleagues and friends from Dublin's community and local development sector who partner with Dublin City Council in delivering the Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP). It's success is attributable to the hard work and commitment of all delivery partners working at local and central government and
especially to the programme participants themselves".

“We are busy in July expanding SICAP actions across Dublin to include dedicated service responses to meet the needs of recently arrived Ukrainian refugees".

“This effort supports our wider Community Forum response in helping meet presenting and urgent needs".

“I want to thank our Local Community Development Committee (LCDC) and its staff team for their ongoing and important work overseeing all aspects of SICAP in Dublin and ensuring it has gone from strength to strength since it's inception in 2018".

“SICAP is a proven success for Dublin. Going forward I support an enhanced resource commitment across all aspects of its delivery so that it success is maintained as SICAP continues to adapt and meet the needs of households.”
 
Launching the report, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath TD said:
“I am delighted to launch the SICAP Annual Report here in the Mansion House today. This report clearly shows the importance of the Programme in addressing inequality and improving outcomes for the most disadvantaged groups and individuals in the country.”

“I want to take this opportunity to congratulate Minister O’Brien and his Department on winning the prestigious 2022 UN Public Service Award for the social inclusion programme."

“This international award is a wonderful acknowledgement of the immense work of the programme, particularly over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic."

“We cannot underestimate the importance of this programme and its impact in communities around the country.”
 
Minister O’Brien said:
“I am very pleased to have Minister McGrath join me today to help raise awareness of the important work of SICAP."

“This programme is the State’s primary social inclusion tool and in addition to working daily to target poverty and disadvantage, the programme workers were also hugely responsive to both the Covid crisis and more recently the Ukrainian crisis.”

“Minister McGrath’s presence here today is testament to this programme’s importance in overall Government policy and I am delighted that last year’s Budget provided significant additional funding to SICAP in recognition of that important role it plays in communities across Ireland.”
 
The Governments Social Inclusion Progress Report was researched, written and produced by Pobal who administer the Programme on behalf of the Department of Rural and Community Development.
 
Pobal’s CEO, Ms Anna Shakespeare, said:
“Pobal is very pleased to work with and on behalf of the Department of Rural and Community Development (DRCD), the Local Community Development Committees (LCDCs), Local Development Companies (LDCs) and other stakeholders towards a common aim of reducing disadvantage, poverty and promoting greater social inclusion and equality”

“I very much welcome the launch of a ‘Learning Brief’ produced by Pobal which is the first detailed gender analysis of the Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP)."

“It analyses and compares the different experiences of men and women, who have engaged with the Programme. It is important to understand these differences, what drives them and to
examine what can be done to address the existing barriers”
 
The SICAP 2021 Annual Report can be downloaded here: https://www.pobal.ie/app/uploads/2022/07/SICAP-2021-Annual-Report.pdf 
 
 
The Department of Rural and Community Development Press Office
01-773 6843 / 086 7912704
 

Press release
 
Minister Joe O’Brien welcomes United Nations Public Service award for the Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP)
 
Published on 23 June 2022
Last updated on 23 June 2022
 
Social Inclusion Programme recognised as key to the COVID response
 
Poverty reduction and support for communities key
 
Joe O’Brien TD, Minister of State with responsibility for Community Development and Charities, today (Thursday, 23rd June 2022) welcomed the announcement that the Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP)” won a 2022 United Nations Public Service Award.
 
The prestigious award, in the category of “Institutional resilience and innovative responses to the COVID-19 pandemic” sees international recognition for Ireland’s primary Social Inclusion programme.
 
SICAP is a Department of Rural and Community Development programme that aims to reduce poverty and promote social inclusion and equality.
 
It is delivered by supporting communities and individuals via community development, engagement, and collaboration.
 
Welcoming the award, Minister O’Brien said:
“I am very proud that the SICAP programme has been recognised for this award, an acknowledgement internationally of the immense work of the programme, particularly over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. SICAP supports communities and individuals using local community development approaches, engagement and collaboration within the framework of a national programme. This allows for flexibility to respond to new and emerging local needs aimed at supporting local communities and building community resilience. Some of the innovative responses during the pandemic included food parcels, shop and drop and meals-on-wheels services, friendly calls and phone based crisis counselling services and support to families adapting to digital services.”
 
The Minister concluded:
“This award, a first for this Department, is testament to the strength of the programme and the hard work and commitment of our DRCD staff, Pobal, Local Government, Local Development Companies and programme beneficiaries. Today, we celebrate public service and continue our commitment and dedication to serving the public interest to the highest possible standard and inspire and encourage others working across the public service.”
 
SICAP is managed at a local level by 33 Local Community Development Committees (LCDCs), with support from local authorities. The programme is implemented nationally by 46 Local Development Companies (LDCs) across 51 areas.
 
The budget for the programme in 2022 is €43 million.

                                                                                  
 
Monaghan Integrated Development (MID) and Monaghan Local Action Group are delighted to present this strategic plan for the development of the social enterprise sector in County Monaghan. The County Monaghan Social Enterprise Strategy 2021-2025 is an innovative study, which addresses the key priorities highlighted in the National Social Enterprise Policy, published in July 2019, at a local level in County Monaghan.
 

Download the Social Enterprise Strategy

Put Spring into your community’s step!

Would your local area and/or group be interested in creating a Biodiversity Plan unique to your area? Monaghan LEADER can help!

Throughout 2019, Monaghan Integrated Development (on behalf of Monaghan Local Action Group) carried out biodiversity training with 85 community groups across Monaghan. This initial training revealed a need for further training and support of community groups in the area of Biodiversity and so, 33 groups embarked on the journey of creating their own professional biodiversity plans and the LEADER funded ‘Biodiversity Plans for Community Groups in Monaghan’ project was born. See some representatives pictured at Lough Muckno, Castleblayney, with the first page of their plan.

Monaghan LEADER commissioned Flynn Furney Environmental Consultants to facilitate the development and co-design of local biodiversity plans. Jennifer McAree of Flynn Furney Environmental Consultants said that ‘this was a great project to be part of and I think it makes communities aware of what they can actually do to help biodiversity on the ground. Thank you!’ All participating groups had one initial information session about the work to be carried out and the potential impact. The plans were developed using a Community-Led Local Development approach with each community group participating and significantly inputting into the design of their individual plan.

The principal aim of this LEADER funded initiative was to increase awareness of the importance of biodiversity to communities but also, to empower individuals and groups to make positive contributions for the benefit of both wildlife and people. Each plan is uniquely designed and fit for purpose within each community setting, allowing for biodiversity to flourish in local areas and ensuring measures are put in place to negate risk and maximise the benefits for the local environment.

As per the plans, ‘Biodiversity refers to the variety of life on Earth. It includes all living things (organisms) that make up the natural world (including humans). Biodiversity also refers to the places where animals and plants live (habitats) and the complex interactions between living things and their environment which we call ecosystems.’ The consultants set out some actions that would be common to all of the participating groups which included but were not limited to; Habitat Creation & Management such as Tree and Hedgerow Planting, and Meadow grasslands and wildflower lawns, Pollinator Friendly Planting; and Protecting Biodiversity and Raising Awareness. The first section of each plan introduces the project with some biodiversity basics. Next, they outline Biodiversity Projects, tailored to the group and area. Finally, there is a schedule for the projects suggested that the group would undertake over the next three years. And so, this LEADER funded Biodiversity project offers the tools for community-led and biodiverse ideas to come to fruition. Some of the proposed larger scale plans include; development of bio sensory play area, planting of native trees and plants, arboriculture surveys, completion of biodiversity-friendly walking trails and more.

This project helped groups ‘design’ biodiversity matters into their present and future projects for their area while maximising the benefits for wildlife along with people. The plans are to be used as a guide for the various groups over the next three years. Gabriel O’Connell, CEO of Monaghan Integrated Development, applauded the project, ‘These plans will inform the groups in how to carry out their biodiversity projects, raise awareness of how biodiversity is considered in these communities, while supporting groups seeking financial or material support for future projects. The 33 community groups involved now see biodiversity as a key consideration in the community planning process’. Many of these plans will be the subject of future LEADER funding applications and we look forward to seeing exciting biodiversity projects emerge as a result of these Community Plans.
Would you like to encourage local biodiversity and create a plan? Contact Monaghan LEADER at  / 087 176 0877 and visit www.midl.ie 
Monaghan Local Action Group (LAG) is administering the LEADER RDP 2014-2022 in County Monaghan for the Department of Rural and Community Development and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. The County Monaghan Local Community Development Committee (LCDC) is operating as the LAG for the County. Monaghan Integrated Development the Local Development Company for County Monaghan is the implementing partner and Monaghan County Council is the lead financial partner.

For more information about Monaghan LEADER, contact  / 087 176 0877 and visit www.midl.ie 

Monaghan communities have been using LEADER funding to create walkways around their GAA pitches, opening up to the broader community and creating a great opportunity to meet others while keeping fit!

As we ease ourselves into 2022, we consider ways that we can renew and rejuvenate ourselves. The pandemic has encouraged us to take stock of our local surroundings and amenities; what do you utilise near you? Are there ways to reimagine and repurpose spaces in your communities, beyond what they were initially purposed for? The Monaghan LEADER programme provides funding for projects across the county that promote social inclusion, develop the local economy through enterprise and tourism, and protect the environment. Latton O’Rahilly, Clontibret O’Neills and Donaghmoyne GFC have used the LEADER programme to complete walking tracks at their pitches, while Cremartin Shamrocks GFC and Castleblayney Faughs got approval from Monaghan LEADER Local Action Group for similar projects.

After community consultations in the Latton Bawn area, the Latton O’Rahilly GAA Club established that, at night (especially Autumn to early Spring), there was nothing for the vast majority of the community to do outside if they were not involved actively in the GAA. The club wanted to change this and provide an outdoor facility available to the entire community. They received LEADER funding to develop a 750 meter lit walking track (2m wide) that would run right around its facilities. The track also includes a 110 meter lined running track (5m wide) and is undulating in parts to provide variety and challenge. The project has opened up the Club facilities to the larger community; ‘we now have a facility that enables all, young and old, to get out and get active and will enhance the community for decades to come

With assistance from LEADER, in 2019, Clontibret O’Neill’s GAA Club developed a track around the perimeter of their two football pitches. The walking track has proved to be a great success with people of all ages and abilities using the track from early morning to late at night. In 2020, in a bid to encourage the general public to use the track facility when training was happening on the pitch, the group sought LEADER funding to erect barrier perimeter fence between a section of the walking track and the pitch to prevent stray balls from entering the walking track; ‘the Club was delighted to receive the funding offered for the perimeter fencing from LEADER. The perimeter fence defines both areas distinctly and creates a boundary which will facilitate the safety of walkers on our walking track, which received significant use during the pandemic’. The fence also incorporates gates to allow access in and out of the playing pitch.

Donaghmoyne GFC GAA Club installed a 2 meter wide walking track with a spectator fence around the perimeter of their new pitch. The track is a facility for all of the community with the club locally advertising walking at set times in the hope that it will be used as much as possible, especially during the day.

‘The walking tracks we funded under the LEADER Programme are a great asset and amenity for the local community, it is priceless to have an accessible safe space to walk and exercise for everyone’ said Marianne McEneaney, LEADER Development Officer with Monaghan Integrated Development. As we embark on another year, try to make use of the surroundings and amenities available near you. If your local area lacks an available activity area, could a similar idea to those mentioned here be applied and funded by LEADER? We are keen to receive project ideas under the Social Inclusion and Environment themes. To chat and learn more about how Monaghan LEADER can strengthen your community spirit and space, contact  / 087 176 0877 and visit www.midl.ie 

Monaghan Local Action Group (LAG) is administering the LEADER RDP 2014-2022 in County Monaghan for the Department of Rural and Community Development and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. The County Monaghan Local Community Development Committee (LCDC) is operating as the LAG for the County. Monaghan Integrated Development the Local Development Company for County Monaghan is the implementing partner and Monaghan County Council is the lead financial partner.

 

Please fill out this online survey at www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/7PJRY5Q 
 
A group, as part of our Innovating Communities Course entitled 'Attracting People to Live and Work in Co Monaghan', invites you to have your say about County Monaghan and your experience of moving here.
 
They hope to discover what motivated you to come to the area.
 
Your feedback can help County Monaghan become a better place to live and work.
 
This survey takes approximately 5 minutes to complete, and we appreciate your contribution.
 
Feel free to share.

                                    
 
Free, high value training open for registration!
 
Join Monaghan Integrated Development’s Innovating Communities project by registering to participate in one of the below Courses. Innovating Communities is a LEADER cooperation project that delivers free training and mentoring in a creative problem solving process known as Design Thinking. The process can be applied to locally identified challenges such as climate action, inequality, tourism and the list goes on! Course participants will be guided to reach their expected outcome i.e. a funding application, strategic plan, network, art piece and more.
 
Courses open for registration are;
  • Creating a Community & Arts Space for Ballybay, Mondays 7-9pm, currently running and others are welcome to join
  • Establishing a Monaghan Wetland Network, start date and running times to be confirmed
  • Responsible Tourism in Monaghan, Tuesdays 2.30-4.30pm, from Tuesday 1st February
 
Creating a Community & Arts Space for Ballybay, Mondays 7-9pm, is currently running and open to others to join. They began the Course in December, looking at how they could design a better future for Ballybay, and kept returning to the lack of community and arts spaces in the centre of the town, and so, their focus fixed on this. The brief is, currently, to create a multipurpose town centre community space, with a long term strategy, that the community maintain ownership of. To learn more about this and how to get involved, visit www.innovating.ie / contact Collette  / 087 176 1732
 
Establishing a Monaghan Wetland Network, start date to be confirmed, will use the Design Thinking method of problem solving, to assist the interested parties in setting up a Monaghan Wetlands Network, with input from the Community Wetland Forum at various stages throughout i.e. guest speakers.
 
Responsible Tourism in Monaghan will take place on Tuesdays 2.30-4.30pm, starting Tuesday 1st February 2021. This course is open to people who are interested in respecting Monaghan’s landscape and amenities in the context of responsible tourism and environmental soundness. If you wish to participate, contact Collette – details below. Once in the Course, through the process of Design Thinking, your group will assess County Monaghan in an environmental context to decide on the focus and an expected outcome. Monaghan has many amenities available for both locals and visitors to enjoy, such as beauty spots, historical or cultural places, and businesses. These activity spots are often linked by cycle and walkways, and or roads. How can we ensure that we are offering these amenities responsibly and respectfully?
 
For more information and to register, visit www.innovating.ie and or contact Collette  / 087 176 1732 to learn more.
 
We wish to acknowledge the project funding being provided by the Monaghan LEADER Local Action Group under the LEADER Programme, the Department of Rural and Community Development under the National Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 and the European agricultural fund for rural development 2014-2020.

Smart Villages Working Together for a Smarter Future in Co Monaghan
 

County Monaghan embarks on 12 month Smart Village Training Program led out by
Monaghan Integrated Development (MID) as the LEADER implementing partner to Monaghan Local Community Development Committee (LCDC).
 
Smart Villages are communities in rural areas that use innovative solutions to improve their resilience, building on local strengths and opportunities. Through the Smart Village approach, we want to build on the success of the LEADER programme over the last 30 years and seek to support local communities to work smarter and more effectively.
 
Monaghan Integrated Development, together with local development companies around Ireland, commissioned the creation of the Smart Village training programme and eTownz is providing this exciting training in the county under the LEADER Programme.
 
Monaghan Integrated Development are looking for individuals/businesses/community groups who are passionate about their area and would like to be part of this new and exciting initiative that is coming to County Monaghan this year! On completion of the course the participants will be the ‘Smart Village Champions’ in their communities trained in how to bring various stakeholders together and coordinate the program annually.
 
The first course will commence Tuesday 25th January 2022, 7-8.30pm and run for 6 weeks online. The Parish of Tydavnet (Tydavnet, Scotstown, Ballinode, Milltown & Knockatallon) has been chosen to be the first community in County Monaghan to pilot the Smart Village Training Programme, if you have an interest and live or work in the area, please get in touch. Further areas will be identified so be sure to call and put your name down and Smart Villages could be coming to your area!
 
The program seeks to:
  • Promote greater collaboration between local organisations and communities
  • Encourage on-boarding of new volunteers by building teams of people with similar interests and complementary skills
  • Support community champions in handing over responsibility to the next generation
  • Reducing, the administration workload
  • Build a more fluid supporting relationship between communities, Local Development Companies and Councils
Are you interested in participating? Please register your interest with Laura at  or call 0871737690 for more information.
 
For more Information visit https://training.etownz.ie/monaghan/ or www.midl.ie  
 
Monaghan Local Action Group (LAG) is administering the LEADER RDP 2014-2022 in County Monaghan for the Department of Rural and Community Development and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development. The County Monaghan Local Community Development Committee (LCDC) is operating as the LAG for the County. Monaghan Integrated Development the Local Development Company for County Monaghan is the implementing partner and Monaghan County Council is the lead financial partner.

LINC (Linking Irelands New Communities)
 
Theme – Goal One Projects
Target Group – New Communities
 
 
Notes to accompany, LINC (Linking Irelands New Communities), the MID SICAP video case study for 2021
 
The Target group: New communities.
 
The context: Through Fáilte Isteach, SICAP and other LDC programmes, MID were aware of access issues arising between new communities members and state services. In Co Monaghan, Tusla were seeing above average referrals from new communities.
 
The challenge: how to bridge the cultural and linguistic gap between state services and new communities. The challenge was identified through SICAP programme work with Fáilte Isteach and Tusla.
 
Note: SICAP did not set out to establish a Social Enterprise. This evolved naturally as the work of the programme unfolded.
 
The interventions put in place were:
•To establish a steering group for the project to:
Resource and co-ordinate the project
Identify potential leaders, community or cultural champions, within the new communities
The committee comprised Tusla, Fáilte Isteach Monaghan, ISPCC, the FRCs, Monaghan Integrated Development (SICAP and Volunteer Centre) and New Communities representatives. At the first meeting it was decided to call the project ‘Connecting Communities’.
 
• 12 cultural champions were identified by the committee
 
• Initially, each champion was Garda Vetted (by Monaghan Volunteer Centre), then provided with:
o training in Parenting (Parents Plus), Child Protection and Advocacy (QQI Level 6). This training was funded by CMETB and Tusla.
o €700 in funding to host an event (s) that would help them to build their profile within their community and give them a platform to explain and publicise their role. This funding came from QCBI Innovation Fund: Enhancing Children’s and Young People’s Outcomes.
 
• In 2019/2020, the champions were supported to form a social enterprise. At this point they received training in:
o Legal structures for Social Enterprise
o Employment Law
o Health & Safety and
o GDPR
o OCNI interpretation/translation (funded by CMETB and Tusla)
They were also assisted with:
o Making funding applications (securing €19,000 for their venture)
 
• Finally, they were supported to register their enterprise as a workers co-operative called LINC (Linking Irelands New Communities) and to employ an admin worker on a CE scheme.
 
What worked
• The collaboration with other agencies/groups

• Identification and training of champions and the ability of champions to fulfil their role

• Tusla‘s provision of an SLA with LINC, demonstrating faith in the champions ability.

• The ability of the LINC to access additional funding for training and equipment (c. €19,000 to date).

• The ability of LINC to access a CE support worker.

What did not work
The intention was not to start a social enterprise. However, initial payment structures proposed did not work so the workers co-operative model was the outcome that evolved.
 
The role of SICAP
• The SICAP team had a history of collaborations with the main project partners through previous work within MID.

• Through its previous engagement work with new communities, SICAP was able to identify all the potential champions.

• MID administered the QCBI funding and the SICAP team provided the support to each champion to spend their allocation and report back on their events.

• The SICAP team was able to work with Monaghan Volunteer Centre to ensure Garda Vetting proceeded smoothly, as both programmes are part of the Local Development Company (Monaghan Integrated Development).

• SICAP was absolutely critical in supporting the social enterprise start up. SICAP found the most suitable SE structure, held the group together during start up phase and helped them access funding and other SE supports. Without SICAP support, the group could not have successfully established their social enterprise.

What is next?
• LINC is currently marketing its services to other agencies. Clones Family Resource Centre has accessed their services to engage with Syrian Refugees who have been resettled in the town.

• There is scope for LINC to work with the Justice Department, Social Welfare and others in the years ahead.

Outputs
• 11 fully trained cultural champions working as members of LINC

• 1 Social Enterprise – LINC (Linking Irelands New Communities) currently providing part-time employment for 6 people

Outcomes
To date LINC has provided:
• Formal case management support to 55 families for Tusla

• Translation support to 7 new community families for Clones FRC

• Support with the development of the County Monaghan Migrant Integration Strategy

Tusla have stated “The work the cultural champions do helps keep families together. We know that in some cases some children may have ended up in foster care system but the work cultural champions has done has helped those families to stay together.”

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