Friday, August 26, 2011

PROFILE: Mike Redmond, Kilkenny Tús Supervisor

Alan Jacques
Reporter ALAN JACQUES recently interviewed one of the 200 supervisors being hired this year to work with Local Development Companies on the national Tús Scheme:

County Kilkenny Leader Partnership recently appointed Mike Redmond as the supervisor of its Tús scheme.
Mike has years of experience in the rail and construction recruitment industry here and in Britain. His main focus was to recruit, co-ordinate and manage operatives on some of the biggest British projects.
Mike Redmond, Tús Supervisor in Kilkenny
Mike told ‘Changing Ireland’ he is now profiling candidates for the scheme and matching their skills for the areas in which participants are needed.
“We’ve been into the communities and spoken to the different organisations and groups to identify the participants that they require. We’ve had huge interest from around 70 different groups in the Kilkenny area and we will have no problem filling the 80 places on the Tús Scheme. We’ve interviewed 18 people in the Piltown area this week,” said Mike.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Thanks in particular to Austin Creaven who provided us with some great work.


- Allen Meagher, editor

Monday, August 15, 2011

Summer edition just PUBLISHED

The summer edition of 'Changing Ireland' - marking 10 years in operation - will be available online from lunchtime today and in print next week! The lead story is about Community Resilience - download the magazine from our homepage:

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Island projects seek some independence

English-speaking islands are moving closer to an agreement on a management structure for crucial projects funded through the Local and Community Development Programme. 
Negotiations are continuing with the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government on how best to manage the staff and work of five Community Development Projects.
Photo by 'Changing Ireland': the ferry to Inishbofin.
The five projects concerned are on Clare Island and Inishturk in Co. Mayo, Inishbofin in Co. Galway and Bere and Sherkin islands in Co. Cork which also provide support to the smaller Dursey, Whiddy, Long and Heir islands.
“We wanted to stay independent if we could, but that wasn’t a runner,” said Bere Island CDP co-ordinator John Walsh.


- Social inclusion mapping now a reality
With the click of a mouse, you can now view levels of deprivation in your area under a range of categories and down to street level.
You don’t hear people saying ‘Thanks to Pobal’ everyday, but that’s where the credit is due and this is a free resource which people will tend to underestimate until they try it out.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Community centre for sale in Galway

The summer edition of 'Changing Ireland' is about to be published. The magazine will be available through Eason outlets, by post to subscribers (free) and on our website homepageHere's one of the more eye-catching stories that feature.

A community centre and sports hall is up for sale, possibly the first to go under the hammer since the recession struck.
Mervue Community Centre in Galway is on the market and four potential buyers were “in talks” about buying the property as ‘Changing Ireland’ went to press.
One of the trustees, parish priest Fr. Willie Cummins, said it was really a sports hall even though it was called a community centre.
The centre was built in the 1980s and is used by a local women’s club and an active retirement assocation. Fr. Cummins said that after the hall was built, the local soccer club and GAA developed their own facilities.
Three main factors have pushed the trustees to this point – high insurance costs, income-decline due to loss of tenants and a mounting list of costly repairs.

Monday, August 1, 2011


Across the country, community groups are learning that they don’t have to be a registered charity or even have a bank account to apply for a Tús worker.
Over 3,000 groups had applied for a worker by July with 1,200 of those considered worthwhile placements.
By December of this year, there should be 5,000 people doing 19.5 hours a week in local communities through the Tús scheme and numbers may double or triple in the future.
Community groups that apply need to have a good, meaningful work placement available.
The groups don’t employ the worker and are not responsible for their supervision – that’s for their Local Development Company and across the country around 200 Tús scheme supervisors are currently being recruited to manage that work through the 52 LDCs in the Local and Community Development Programme.
Community groups in urban as well as rural areas can apply. After 12 months, when the worker’s placement finishes, the community group can apply for a new worker.
* * * * *
Rural Social Scheme workers in Co. Cork. Tús is similar.

The following are the figures in relation to the Tús Scheme up to July from six areas, urban and rural:
Clare: 300 letters sent out; 250 replied ‘Yes’ before the closing date; 10 no replies.
Offaly: 120 letters sent out; 82 replied ‘Yes’ before the closing date; 20 sought exclusions; 18 initially did not reply but all subsequently agreed to participate.
Laois: 30 letters sent out; 23 replied ‘Yes’ before the closing date; 2 sought exclusions; 5 no replies.
Finglas postal area: 77 letters sent out; two-thirds replied ‘Yes’ before the closing date; 12 sought exclusions.
Dublin Northside: 30 letters sent out; 21 replied ‘Yes’ before the closing date.
Meath: 45 letters sent out; 36 replied ‘Yes’ before the closing date.

Pobal to continue, despite pre-election talk of closure

Pobal looks likely to continue to be supported by the Government, despite pre-election talk of closure, Minister Phil Hogan has indicated to 'Changing Ireland'.
The Government agency was listed as one of the 145 so-called "quangos" that the State could do without, with Fine Gael proposing the takeover of its functions by local authorities. The body handled €377m of national and EU funding in 2007 and is responsible for managing a range of community-related Government programmes.
Recently, 'Changing Ireland' asked Minister Phil Hogan about Pobal's future.
Minister Hogan pointed out that it was a matter for Government and not for he alone to decide:
“While it is possible that the services provided by Pobal could be provided internally by my Department or other Departments, it is unlikely that significant savings would arise given that staff resources would need to be redeployed, systems would require development and the necessary expertise in providing advice to the sectors concerned may not be readily available. 
“Additionally, because Pobal delivers funding on behalf of a number of Departments involved in supporting services in the not-for-profit, community and voluntary sectors, the Company is in a unique position to bring considerable value-added because of its comprehensive knowledge of the sectors.  The central administration and integration of services offered by the Company across the various programmes and the fact that the same staff work on a number of programmes are considerable strengths which would not be easily replicated if Departments separately implemented programmes.”

'Changing Ireland' also asked about €750,000 which was recently cut from Pobal’s budget to manage the Dormant Accounts Fund. We asked was this re-distributed to community initiatives or sent to ‘Brussels’?

The Minister replied that “efficiency are retained as savings (and) are not redistributed.”

How do partners claim credit for community work in the LCDP?

'Changing Ireland' recently put a question to Minister Phil Hogan to end debate between projects that co-operate on a piece of work, but need clear direction on who claims the credit.
Q:        The evaluation reports for LCDP work don’t allow two companies/projects who collaborate to both claim involvement. Sometimes the minor partner gets the credit, while the lead partner looks like they're sitting on their hands. Can you fix this? (E.g Where someone is supported/directed onto a training course).
A:         If two groups collaborate to provide supports to one person under the LCDP, it is quite valid for both of them to claim credit for their own part of the work. 
What should happen is that both clearly define the supports they provide and report this – the reporting systems allow this. Thus, if one group works with a client to provide them with training, and another then helps the client in job searches and with interviews, both can and should report this. 
If that results in a person getting a job, for example, the role that the LCDP played can be captured not as a person progressing into employment but that the LCDP made that individual better prepared for the labour market - which is a high priority outcome of the LCDP. 
Equally, if two groups come together to offer training, they can both record and claim their work and successes. What should not happen is that both groups record themselves as completing all of the work. 
For example, if two groups co-operate on training 10 people to gain a certificate, we cannot have each of them claim full credit, with a total claim made that 20 people were trained to certificate level – rather the groups must have broken down the work and claimed the proportion of the outputs associated with the actual work they provided.