Monday, December 6, 2010

COMMUNITY GROUPS ASKED TO CHECK ON HOUSEBOUND RESIDENTS

What has your community project been doing for people isolated in the snow and bad weather? Have you any ideas to share?

Last week, the Community Minister wrote to hundreds of community groups funded through the Local and Community Development Programme urging them to "keep in regular contact with people who may find themselves housebound to ensure that they have sufficient supplies of food and heat etc."

Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs Pat Carey said "if other interventions are required, the relevant local statutory agency e.g. the HSE should be contacted immediately so that the necessary help and assistance can be obtained."

A lot of groups would already have been helping out in various ways, as projects did in Cork during the floods and subsequent water shortages last year.

Minister Carey in his letter described the assistance by community groups as "invaluable" and said the community sector is "uniquely placed" to help out.

The media only pick up on weather-related deaths on the roads, but who knows how many people have died quietly in their homes from the cold or related illnesses this year.

Let us know if you've ideas for helping people out that other community groups could emulate or copy!

Email: editor@changingireland.ie or comment below here.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

11 BENEFITS TO YOUNG PEOPLE FROM LEARNING MUSIC



11 BENEFITS TO YOUNG PEOPLE

FROM LEARNING MUSIC - THE BALLUMUN EXPERIENCE
Children who play a musical instrument in a band develop improved:

- Ability to Focus- Patience- Self Confidence- Abilities to relax- Hand co-ordination- Discipline- Ability to learn languages- They find a means of self-expression. - They have fun.- They make new friends.-They experience achievement.

For more, read our feature on the Ballymun Music Programme which has seen over 1000 children learn music on page 21:
http://www.changingireland.ie/ISSUE34.pdf

PHOTOS:

(1) Young musicians from the Ballymun Music Programme

(2) Ron Cooney, Ballymun Music Programme director


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

WINTER EDITION OUT NOW! HERE!

THE PRINT VERSION WILL BE DELIVERED TO EASON NEWSAGENTS AND TO ADDRESSES NATIONWIDE NEXT WEEK!

Monday, November 29, 2010

PHOTO-REPORT from ICTU's mass rally in Dublin, Nov 27



We've posted
photos from the mass rally outside the GPO on Saturday on our Facebook page.
For the record, our estimate of the numbers who took part are: 70,000 people on O'Connell Street and approx 100,000 who took part at one point or another in the march.
The speeches included powerful and well-received contributions from Siobhan O'Donoghue, Fintan O'Toole and Christy Moore among others.
Christy sang a song for Joe McNamara, about the only person who faces charges due to the banking crisis - he was the man who parked up his cement mixer outside the Dail when it returned after the summer recess.

Captions:
Top image: Fintan O'Toole addresses the rally outside the GPO.
Lower image: Minimum wage cut protesters call for the return of the Irish pound.
Photos copyleft 'Changing Ireland': - meaning you can use the photos but you must name the source.


Friday, November 26, 2010

Minister Carey's comments on the budget and 10% cut to Dept funding

The overall reduction in the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs budget for 2011 will be of the order of 10%.

For more information on the budget cuts, click here for Minister Pat Carey's statement on the four-year plan.

This is what he had to say about funding under the following sub-head:

Developing Communities

"There will continue to be an emphasis on the prioritisation of front-line services and supports to customers and beneficiaries at the expense of administration, overheads and ancillary costs."

"My Department will shortly commence a structured dialogue with the Community & Voluntary Sector with the aim of ensuring that the impact of any budgetary adjustments to the services provided by the Sector are minimised, as far as possible. To this end, my Department will be working with the sector to achieve greater consolidation, coordination and efficiencies among service providers."

For more download the document via the link (above in the text).

DAIL DEBATE ON STATUS OF CDPs (Nov 3rd)

A Dail debate on the "Status of Community Development Projects' (click here for the report) took place on November 3rd, in the run-up to the budget.

In the debate, Minister Pat Carey responded to questions from Fine Gael TD Paul Connaughton, FG's Frank Feighan and Labour's Jack Wall and the Minister indicated that staff in CDPs should not fear losing their jobs, that the focus was on frontline services. He said the Local and Community Development Programme would "enhance" community development activity across the State and argued that it would not lead to a reduction in such activity.

For more information on 'Where CDPs now stand' read our blog posting from last week.

The Local & Community Development Programme (LCDP)

The Local & Community Development Programme (LCDP) is managed by POBAL on behalf of the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs. It forms part of the National Development Plan 2007 -2013.

The Programme is an amalgamation of two former programmes, Local Development Social Inclusion Programme and the Community Development Programme.


AIM: The LCDP aims to tackle poverty and social exclusion through partnership between Government and people in the most disadvantaged communities.


PROGRAMME GOALS: There are four key goals under LCDP.

  • GOAL 1: Promote awareness, knowledge and uptake of a wide range of statutory, voluntary and community services;

  • GOAL 2: Increase access to formal and informal educational, recreational and cultural activities and resources

  • GOAL 3: Increase in people’s work readiness and employment prospects

  • GOAL 4: Promote engagement with policy, practice, and decision-making processes on matters affecting local communities

‘Changing Ireland’/www.changingireland.ie is the national magazine for the Programme. It is setting up as an independent company, having for the past 9 years being managed by the voluntary board of management of the CDN Moyross Ltd.


We will shortly be publishing a map showing the distribution of companies nationwide within the Programme.


For more on CDPs and their place within the Programme, check our earlier blog entry.



Thursday, November 25, 2010

HUNDREDS OF BUSINESS STARTS AND JOBS YOU DON'T KNOW ABOUT

Thousands of people have been directly helped to set up in business or find suitable work since the start of this year, through the Local and Community Development Programme.

For instance, Donegal Local Development Company directly supported over 153 small family businesses to open up in the first 11 months of this year. That compares with 146 people who directly set up in small businesses upon finishing a course run by the Northside Partnership in Dublin.

Some companies focused on supporting people on the margins, for instance long-term unemployed people with mental health challenges, to better prepare for and find suitable work.

In our upcoming print edition, we have short reports from Cork, Dublin, Galway, Donegal and Laois showing how Local Development Companies are slowly but steadily getting people into business or helping them find suitable work. The courses and local programmes on offer are giving people opportunities they didn't have before.

These are jobs you don't hear about in IDA announcements, because they come about through the work of Local Development Companies, they usually involve the establishment of small or family businesses, and they're emerging one-by-one around the country.

Our reports indicate that thousands of people are benefitting and by that we mean finding work. The full tally should emerge in time through data-collection systems operating within the Programme.

- Allen Meagher, Editor

€32m fund giving free training to job-seekers - is your community benefitting?

GEAROID FITZGIBBON REPORTS IN THE NEXT ISSUE

While the effectiveness and cohesion of national economic policies are questioned, there are in fact a raft of minor initiatives aimed at boosting the economy.

Community and voluntary groups including Local Development Companies have yet to take full advantage of these initiatives.

Many of them are funded under the €32m Labour Market Activation Fund which is “to stimulate innovation in the provision of training and activation measures for jobseekers seeking to upskill and get back into work.”

It was launched in June.

Of 350 tenders received, 25 were selected, from both private and public bodies. These offer everything from free college places, to short term training in specific skills, eg multimedia, tourism, green economy. For further information on these, see the Department of Education and Skills' website, where a full list of the initiatives can be downloaded.

For more information, look out for our magazine published next week, in print and online at: www.changingireland.ie

CAPTION: The posters here are a selection from around the country offering free training for unemployed people, in these cases in Carlow, Meath and Tipperary.

Where CDPs now stand

The Local and Community Development Programme (LCDP) was instigated at the beginning of this year and most CDPs – we don’t yet know the final tally – are on schedule to amalgamate their work with that of the Local Development Company in their area by year’s end.

At the same time, quite a number of projects proposed alternative models and negotiated successfully in a number of instances with the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs.

The 2011-2014 budget is of course going to impact on funding for the LCDP. The extent of the cut has not been published, but an overall cut of €8.7m is planned under the subheading 'Developing Communities' (which includes funding towards the Programme, volunteering initiatives and "supports for the community and voluntary sector").

Meanwhile most of the 160 CDPs are on course to fully or partially amalgamate with the Local Development Company in their area/county, with the following exceptions applying:

13 SPECIAL PROJECTS

From the outset, 13 projects with special responsibility, national roles or providing unique services were allowed to continue independently. ‘Changing Ireland’ was among them and is the only one that needed to establish itself as an independent not-for-profit company, which it is doing. Other examples include the Men’s Development Network.

5 CORK AND KERRY PROJECTS

In counties Cork and Kerry, where there are over 20 CDPs, five of them are moving to HSE funding and will not be part of the LCDP, but will continue in existence.

DUBLIN’S INNER CITY

In Dublin, where funding was withdrawn to the Dublin Inner City Partnership and amalgamation therefore became impossible, the CDPs will continue to operate with direct support and funding from the LCDP via Pobal.

SIX IN LIMERICK

Six CDPs in Limerick city are amalgamating to become one company, to be known in future as Limerick City CDP.

Note: Documentation on how the plan to amalgamate Limerick CDPs was published on our website during the summer.

17 WOMEN’s CDPs

17 Women’s CDPs are amalgamating and will operate as one company under the LCDP.

(For more on this, you can read Elva O’ Callaghan’s account in the upcoming edition of ‘Changing Ireland’, out in a matter of days. Elva works with the National Women’s Collective which is central to the merger).

TRAVELLER CDPs

The Traveller CDP Network (representing 17 Traveller CDPs) has recently submitted revised proposals for integration of Traveller CDPs within the LCDP. Two different alternative models are proposed and the Traveller Network has asked that both are given equal consideration. It is expected that a decision will be made on the preferred model shortly.

OTHER CDPs

A small number of (mostly large) CDPs, many of whom receive 85% or more of their funding from sources other than the LCDP may continue to operate, though under new arrangements (still being negotiated) as part of the LCDP.

INDEPENDENT CDPs

Some projects have declined to become part of the Programme and will continue on independently as local community development projects.

A full list of where each CDP is now, depending on the path chosen, will be published in the next edition of ‘Changing Ireland’.

ISLAND CDPs

We are still gathering information relating to island CDPs and will update you when we have news.

CAPTION: Our map shows the national spread of State-funded CDPs in 2006. Click to enlarge.


DAIL DEBATE ON 'STATUS OF CDPs' (Nov 3rd)


Minister Pat Carey responded that day to questions from Fine Gael TD Paul Connaughton, FG's Frank Feighan and Labour's Jack Wall. At that stage, three CDPs were going it alone and were not joining the Local and Community Development Programme.

The Minister argued with the opposition party TDs saying the Programme would result in "enhanced" community development across the State and would not see a decline in such activity.

He further said that CDP staff should not worry about losing their jobs and said the emphasis was on frontline services such as they deliver: "I recognise the concerns of those who may feel their jobs are under threat. They are not. The people key to this are the recipients of the services and the volunteers driving it."


Thanks to Finbar from Mayo for the above.

The cut to the minimum wage has been widely criticised. The €1 cut equates to 11.5% of salary if you're on the minimum wage.

Business leaders have welcomed the proposal saying it will cuts costs.

However, Fine Gael have said they may revisit the proposal.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Cuts of €35m over 4 years to Dept of Community, Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs

Cuts of €35m are planned for the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs from 2011-2014.
The chart below covers some details of the cuts for the coming year, 2011. It comes from the Government's official four-year plan which is
downloadable from this page.
The Community Workers Co-op have published a 7-page response to the budget from a Community viewpoint:
http://www.cwc.ie/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/CWC-Community-Work-Updates-November-2010.pdf

Your opinion?
CLICK TO ENLARGE

Friday, November 19, 2010

WE DIDN'T ALL CAUSE THIS MESS! WE HAVE OUR PRIDE!

HOW DO YOU FEEL TODAY?

asks ALLEN MEAGHER, EDITOR

We've invited in foreigners to take over the running of our country's finances and decide our future for the years to come. We've lost a large part of our sovereignty.

There is anger in the air and even some Government TDs have felt it and have called on the Government to resign.

THE QUESTION IS WHAT WOULD BEST SERVE THE INTERESTS OF IRELAND'S DISADVANTAGED COMMUNITIES NOW?

FOLLOW WHAT OUR READERS HAVE TO SAY ON OUR FACEBOOK PAGE

Monday, November 8, 2010

New ideas workshop on Nov 24th in Dublin

We're all looking for new ideas in these "challenging" times and Tosach is holding an innovation workshop in St. Andrew's Resource Centre in Dublin 2, on November 24th. At €25 per person, it's good value compared to certain profit-making companies who charge 10 times that for their expertise.
It will cover:
  • Using Social Media to build community
  • Building a sustainable social enterprise
  • Using successful role models in education - A positive deviance approach
  • Engaging Drug Users with the Arts
  • Restorative Justice - A new way of dealing with anti-social behaviour?
  • Mental Health - a community issue in recession
  • Facilitators include Tony Cronin, Bernie Walsh, Gerry McKeever, Eoghan O'Neill and Karl Tooher.


  • Tosach is a Dublin-based not-for-profit that offers support services to the Community and Voluntary Sector. It worked with CDPs for many years in a formal capacity as a support agency.
  • Thursday, November 4, 2010

    Disability leader proposes land taxes instead of cuts

    "I believe a €5 land tax per acre regardless of the quality of the land could yield a massive €8 billion per year straight into the coffers of Government," says Noel O'Neill, chairperson of the Kerry Network of People with Disabilities.

    While his figures don’t seem to stack up (see comments below) he makes the point that there is untapped wealth in this country and he argues that the poor can't pay for the banks' collapse.

    On his specific proposal, Noel says farmers he knows agree with him. If you want to read more advice (2 pages) to the Government on the upcoming budget from the KNPD, click the link here.

    BACKGROUND: The KNPD is one of 160 Community Development Projects that are part of the LCDP. The project is currently amalgamating with the North East Kerry Development Company.

    Wednesday, November 3, 2010

    Find out about 'Community Economic Development (CED) Lawyering' HERE!


    There is lot of information available on the internet about a phenomena well rooted in communities in the USA called 'Community Economic Development (CED) Lawyering'.
    Maria Antonieta Nestor (pictured here) has written an article on the subject for the autumn edition of ‘Changing Ireland’ and recommends the following (click for links):
    • Community Benefit Agreements,
    National Day Labourer Organisation Network,
    CLEAN CarWash campaign,
    Taco Trucks (information partly in Spanish),
    • For inspiration on how community education can make a difference, visit the
    Institute of Popular Education of Southern California (IDEPSCA),
    Economic justice work of community coalitions,
    Immigrant initiatives in Los Angeles, particularly as reported by Victor Narro,
    • For an academic view on CED you can also read the scholarly works of Scott Cummings, Susan Bennett, Susan Jones and Roger A. Clay Jr.

    ***
    At a glance, some CED initiatives in Ireland are:
    • The
    Legal Education Programme at the Ballymun Community Law Centre
    • The work of the
    Limerick Regeneration Agencies
    • The
    Shell-to-Sea Campaign

    Are there any others you'd suggest? Comments welcome.

    * Maria Antonieta Nestor is a PhD student at the School of Law, TCD. Her research project is looking at CED lawyering in the USA and comparing it with what is happening on the ground in Ireland.

    If you would like to contact the author about your experiences, examples or questions about CED, email: nestorma@tcd.ie

    Monday, November 1, 2010

    VIDEO REPORTS FROM 'CLAIMING OUR FUTURE'



    We're uploading video reports from Saturday's historic 'Claiming Our Future' event, the biggest Civil Society gig in the Republic Ireland in a generation.
    It wasn't a protest and it was different. And it achieved its aim of finding out what we're FOR in a new Irelan
    d. The top 3 values a new Ireland needs to emphasise, according to the final vote, are:
    - equality,
    - environmental sustainability
    -and accountability

    Also popular were policies leading to better governance and a maximum wage as well as the minimum wage.

    Our first video is with Niamh McGrath aka 'The elephant in the room'.

    An in-depth and lively 11-minute interview with one of the organisers Siobhan O'Donohue is now online at

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yqfm945n77U



    Thursday, October 21, 2010

    Britain's Community Budget CUT; Overseas Aid Budget INCREASES!

    While the newly elected Government in Britain has made a lot of noise about plans to give local authorities and communities more say in how money is spent, there will be an awful lot less funding available.
    The budget announced in London yesterday outlined mostly bad news for marginalised groups as the Department with responsibility for communities is due to drop spending by 33%.
    NGOs have commented on how the greater democratic involvement of communities promised by the Government will be negated by the loss of essential funding to communities.
    On the plus side and there were pluses, Britain's overseas aid budget is being INCREASED!

    Comments welcome and keep an eye on our international page(s) in our print edition of 'Changing Ireland'.

    Find out more about the UK budget cuts and policy changes for community funding/decision-making:

    Wednesday, October 20, 2010

    Advertise with ‘Changing Ireland’!

    Advertise with ‘Changing Ireland’!

    Because now – for the first time – you can!!

    Changing Ireland’, the country’s most widely read Community and Voluntary Sector magazine, is now taking advertising for the first time.

    Established in 2001, it has built up a loyal readership and reaches up to 15,000 people directly with its printed quarterly publication.

    ‘Changing Ireland’ has also built up a considerable online following via youtube (13,000 views and rising), facebook, blogger and its website: www.changingireland.ie

    Our COMMERCIAL ADVERTISING RATE CARD is now available online. CLICK HERE!

    A separate rate card with substantial discounts is available on request to not-for-profit organisations, in line with our believe that groups working with vulnerable people and marginalised communities should be given the opportunity to advertise even if their budget is small.

    Adverts (discounted) start from €133 each (for 1/6th-page).

    Contact ‘Changing Ireland’ administrator Tim Hourigan (Mon-Wed by phone) or email him anytime to place an advert. T: 061-458090. E: admin@changingireland.ie

    For further queries, contact the editor, Allen Meagher. T: 061-458011. E: editor@changingireland.ie

    Thursday, October 14, 2010

    'Changing Ireland' wants to tell the world your News!

    If you're working in a Community Development Project or a Local Development Company,
    let us know what you're doing that’s:
    (a) different and an example of good practice,
    (b) that respects Community Development principles and makes a real difference for ordinary punters,
    (c) that other readers throughout Ireland might like to emulate.

    Phone the editor on 061-458011 with your news. Or email: editor@changingireland.ie

    Our print magazine goes to 5000 addresses. Where useful, we also post news here on our blog, Youtube channel and/or Facebook page.


    Event: Claiming Our Future on Oct 30th in Dublin


    'Claiming Our Future' is a day-long event to plot and plan for a better Ireland. The organisers want to pinpoint the values a better Ireland can aspire to. Honesty and fair ...play for instance. They want to “mobilize” and “unite” Ireland behind a new plan.
    It takes place in the Industries Hall of the RDS in Dublin City on Saturday, 30th October, from 9am-5.30pm and entry is free.

    http://www.facebook.com/ClaimingOurFuture
    http://www.claimingourfuture.ie/

    The day is being organised by community activists, trade unionists, academics, rights groups and umbrella bodies from the Community and Voluntary Sector. They include: Is FĂ©idir Linn, ICTU, TASC, Social Justice Ireland, the Community Platform and the Environmental Pillar of Social Partnership.

    NOTE: The ‘Is Feidir Linn’ group was slagged off in an opinion piece in the Summer edition of 'Changing Ireland' (they're writing a reply). They were accused of failing to reach the wider public, of not having a message the average punter would buy into. In fairness to ‘Is Feidir Linn’, they were planning ahead when others were pulling their hair out and the ‘Claiming Our Future’ event could not have been held at a better time.

    Wednesday, October 6, 2010

    Galway helps lead the Campaign to Defend Ireland's Communities

    150 or so people turned out in Galway and up to 1500 in Dublin on Sept 29th, 2010, to 'Defend Ireland's Communities'.
    In Galway, activists used street theatre to show how community groups who work together are more likely to be successful in fending off attacks and cutbacks.
    The trade unions SIPTU and IMPACT are supporting the 'Defending Ireland's Communities' campaign, as are the Community Workers Co-op, Community Platform among others.

    What do you think of the turnout? RTE were critical, the trade unions defensive. Comments welcome!

    Check out our photo-report from Galway by clicking this link to our Facebook page.

    We're also about to post some videos from the demo on our youtube channel

    Tuesday, August 17, 2010

    Thursday, July 29, 2010

    Limerick CDPs' alternative model - details published here

    CDPs across the country are currently integrating into the Local and Community Development Programme and some have sought to win approval for an alternative structure that better suits their communitys' needs.

    The Limerick model for setting up a Citywide CDP, as looked on favourably by the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs is now available online (click here). The document gives details of the proposed new voluntary management structure and may be of interest to projects in other parts of the country considering their options.

    The Limerick model proposes “that instead of ‘integrating’ Partnerships and CDP’s in Limerick city, CDPs are amalgamated into one “City CDP” thus retaining local voluntary involvement with real responsibility and a continued say in decisions affecting their community.”

    Limerick CDPs are aiming to “ensure that the LCDP is delivered as effectively and efficiently as possible with the maximum participation and buy in from volunteers engaged over the years on CDP management committees.”

    In Cork, CDPs have developed another alternative in co-operation with the HSE, while Women’s CDPs and Traveller CDPs are also understood to be at advanced stages in working out with the Department how a different model could work for their CDPs and their communities’ needs.

    In most parts of the country, CDPs are being absorbed into Local Development Companies (aka Partnerships) and many if not most of them are likely to close down as companies.

    An alternative model proposed by Donegal CDP’s was not accepted by the Department.

    The Department have been clear that they want savings made in the areas of staff, HR, audit, administration and legal bills.

    Tuesday, July 27, 2010

    Moyross.ie launched today by Minister Carey

    18 months ago, the first ten items that came up in a Google search for ‘Moyross’ were all negative in the extreme characterising the estate solely in terms of criminality and gangs.

    A new website Moyross.ie is nowadays often listed in the top three Google listings for Moyross.

    At lunchtime today, July 27th, the Minister for Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs, Pat Carey, officially launched www.moyross.ie, an accompanying blog and ‘Changing Ireland’s Youtube channel which passed the 10,000 viewers mark earlier this year.

    The Moyross website and blog are supported locally by ‘Changing Ireland’.
    The website builds on the popularity of the local newsletter ‘Moywrites’ produced by the Community Development Network Moyross and it utilises the IT skills and media expertise of ‘Changing Ireland’ staff based in the community, at no extra cost.

    Meanwhile, work by the PAUL Partnership is ongoing to develop an integrated website for community groups across Limerick City - Limerickcommunities.ie and Moyross.ie will in time become part of and linked with this.

    CAPTION: CDN Chairperson Deirdre O'Driscoll, Minister Pat Carey and Allen Meagher, editor of 'Changing Ireland' at the launch of: www.moyross.ie