Friday, June 29, 2012

Traveller Beoirs mean business! - Galway Traveller Women Entrepreneurs launch a toolkit

Bridget Kelly, Joanna Corcoran and Anne Marie McDonagh at the launch of the Enterprising Traveller Women' toolkit by GTM's ETWE project. Photo by Derek Speirs

In Galway, there is a drive underway at local level to support enterprising Traveller women.
Recently businesswoman Liz Cassidy, an EU ‘Ambassador for Female Entrepreneurs’, was the guest speaker when the ‘Empowering Traveller Women Entrepreneurs’ programme was launched by the Galway Traveller Movement (GTM).
Liz talked with Traveller women about how to overcome barriers they encounter in trying to set up or run businesses.
Bridget Kelly, a Traveller woman with business experience who works with GTM said, “We’re interested in working with Traveller women who are interested in becoming self-employed or getting involved in business. Some women may already be involved in their own business or a family business, but no experience is necessary.”
Tanya Lalor of GTM said training and mentoring on the programme is ongoing: “There are a range of ideas from women interested in setting up their own businesses including, alterations, flower arranging, dress making and importing different products. One woman is even interested in establishing a music career.”
Christina Ward showing off her work at the launch. Photo by Derek Speirs.

The programme allows the women entrepreneurs to have a say in how their training is delivered.
“We provide co-facilitation training where the women meet the trainer in advance. This brings in the experience of the Traveller women relative to the training,” added Tanya.
GTM and those involved in the entrepreneurs’ programme have also launched a new toolkit entitled ‘Enterprising Traveller Women - A Toolkit for Enterprise Support’ targeted at enterprise support organisations serious about working with Traveller women.
“It identifies barriers and provides a step-by-step guide for organisations. It is hoped it will engage and influence wider practice,” said Tanya.
The Galway Traveller Movement is funded through the Local and Community Development Programme.
The Traveller Women Entrepreneurs programme was funded under the Equality for Women Measure and is supported by the European Social Fund.
For more information or to request a copy of the enterprise support booklet, call Tanya Lalor in GTM on 091-765-390 or email

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Offaly men changing their lives

Keith Walsh and Michael Egan

Interviews by Robert McNamara 

 Keith Walsh and Michael Egan from Clara both did the 16 month programme and are continuing on with further education and community involvement. Community workers first approached Keith and Michael about the programme and now they are themselves recommending it to people they meet.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Offaly makes a start - as 5 people get a start

A programme supporting those at risk of social exclusion has, in the past few months, helped 55 long-term unemployed people move towards paid employment in Co. Offaly.
Five of the people who last December completed the 16-month programme gained full-time or part-time employment, five more found seasonal work and most of the remainder went onto advanced courses and programmes.
They had all been long-term unemployed.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Worklink: another volunteer-led support for job-seekers

An expanding network of volunteers is providing help to job-seekers in Dublin, Limerick, Sligo, Athlone, Cork, Galway, and Waterford.
The Worklink project employs two paid staff in Dublin with most of the work being done by the volunteers.
Unemployed people are offered mentoring and work experience opportunities (eg through Jobbridge) as a step towards full-time employment.
The project has the backing of the INOU and this year Worklink won €50,000 and backroom support from Diageo through the Arthur Guinness Fund.
If you live in any of the areas listed and are interested, either in volunteering or in getting support to find suitable work experience, the project is worth approaching as it has direct links with a number of companies that appreciate its aims.
T: 01-2916603.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Changing Ireland issue 39 - out now

Open publication - Free publishing - More civil society
The most popular Civil Society magazine in Ireland.
LEAD STORY: Jobs you haven't heard about - 5000 people develop new businesses
Reports from: Canada, Sweden, Brussels, Meath, Donegal, Cork, Offaly, Galway, Limerick & Dublin.
  • Volunteers fill the gaps in West Cork
  • Meath woman says "Bite the Bullet"
  • 12 great websites
  • NEW: textbook about Community Development
  • EXAMINED: The social impact of adult education classes
  • 1-in-6 find jobs with LCDP support
  • Solutions and responses to long-term unemployment
  • Changing the world; changing ourselves
  • Ireland Mark II 
  • The Diary of Doris McDermott
  • News briefs

Belfast unemployed centre fuelled by bar

The John Hewitt, an award-winning bar in Belfast city centre, is owned by and financially supports the operations of the Belfast Unemployed Resource Centre.
The resource centre had always relied on an unsteady series of grants and 15 years ago decided to generate their own funds by going into business.
A manager runs the bar on behalf of the Resource Centre and the idea has proved a winner.
John Hewitt, the late Belfast poet and socialist opened the Resource Centre in 1983 and the bar is named in his honour. The two premises are located side-by-side on Donegall Street.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Volunteers now running 3 job-seekers' centres

Citizens fill in where there are no staff in West Cork

By Robert McNamara
Three community led job-seekers centres, staffed by volunteers, are currently operating in the West Cork area, with plans for three more to be opened.
Only for them, unemployed people in West Cork would be left to swim.
The centres which offer free advice and confidential support in Bandon, Kinsale and Clonakilty are managed by the West Cork Development Board (WCDP) and offer a "holistic" approach to job-searching. A “buddy” system operates, with volunteers assisting the job-seekers in all aspects of the process.
The centres serve a region that comprises of eight mid-size towns, which currently have approximately 10,000 people on the live register. There are no Local Employment Services Offices, or Jobs Clubs, and only 9 per cent of the territory is covered by Local Development Plans.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The huge satisfaction in serving others - Karen Moroney, Volunteer at Clonakilty Job-seekers’ centre

Karen Moroney

Karen Moroney was unemployed at one stage and appreciated the support she got. She’s now doing the same for others by volunteering with Clonakilty Job-Seekers’ Centre which was set up under the LCDP. Her volunteering is something that’s important to her.

What are you reading at the moment?
I'm reading Tess of the d'Urbervilles. It's set way back in Victorian times and it's about a woman making her way in life.

Whats the last film you saw?
Dark Shadows with Johnny Depp.

Person you most admire?
I don't tend to admire people as such. I may admire actions that people take, but I don't have one particular person that I admire. I don't hold any one person up as a role model.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Robert McNamara, Journalist

Robert McNamara

Robert McNamara from Corbally in Limerick City, has joined Changing Ireland Community Media Ltd on a long-term work placement as a journalist.
He is currently studying a degree in Journalism and New Media with sociology and politics at the University of Limerick as a mature student.
Robert is the current sports editor at An Focal newspaper and maintains a popular indie music blog. He has a keen interest in current affairs, print journalism, publication design, old and new media.
Robert competes in long-distance running and can often be seen hobbling around after a marathon.
He hopes to graduate from UL in 2014 and pursue a career in the media industry.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

“On the cusp of a huge opportunity” Interview with: Ryan Howard in Brussels

Ryan Howard

By Allen Meagher

“We’re standing on the cusp of a huge opportunity here,” claims Ryan Howard, talking about Ireland’s potential to unlock EU funds for communities from 2014 onwards.
From 18 months time, the European Commission (EC) proposes just one “programming tool” for all structural funds.
In doing so, the EC has given official recognition and backing to a process knows as Community-Led Local Development (CLLD) and Ireland is better prepared than most to make use of the funding that’s been earmarked.
For a country to have access – by the hundreds of million – it needs to have a network of local action groups in place to channel the funding.
Leading the field, Ireland already has a national network in place, namely the Local and Community Development Programme (LCDP).

Friday, June 8, 2012

Community workers seek to harvest ideas for the future

By Robert McNamara and Allen Meagher


A new way of looking at communities in Ireland is being sought in the run-up to the 20th anniversary of the Rio Earth Summit.
President Michael D Higgins thought this work was important enough to officiate at the opening in Cloughjordan, Co. Tipperary, of Convergence 2012 which was filmed by 'Changing Ireland'. The move is towards promoting “community resilience” in place of “sustainable development.”


A wet summer's day in Cloughjordan
Most of the global promises made in Rio in 1992 were not honoured while economic growth continued to be promoted, destroying ecosystems and increasing Ireland’s temperature in the intervening two decades by 0.75 degrees, meaning we’re on course for a four degree rise here within the lifetime of some of today’s children. 

The message 20 years after the first Earth Summit in Rio is that too few people took notice of the “Think Global, Act Local” slogan to change their lifestyle, become more active citizens and embrace sustainable development.
Instead we’ve had industrial and economic development on a global scale and that’s despite nations promising to slow down to avoid irreversible climate change, the destruction of habitats and so on.
But if the doomsday predictions of societal collapse and species wipe-out didn’t get the message across, what will people listen to? What values shape our behaviour?
That’s the question being discussed around the country this year as part of what’s called Convergence 2012, led by environmentalists and community workers in County Tipperary, who feel we’ve reached the point of “Peak Everything” – a time when the best ideas are likely to come to the fore – as nations and societies begin involuntarily to slow down.