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ng the fire

Evaluation findings fed into report REKINDLING The Fire’ was largely compiled from yearly evaluations (under an internet-based evaluation system called SPEAK). Most of the content outlines and describes the activities and workpractices of 36 sample projects in the eastern region. By far the most important factor – as identified by projects in their SPEAK returns – is CDPs’ capacity to become

and remain familiar with local organisations and individuals. Continuous outreach is seen as essential across the whole range of working methods – allowing for the project to remain familiar with local issues and local groups; as well as for local organisations and people to become and remain familiar with what the CDP is doing. A number of projects specifically refer to the need to maintain ‘trust’ in their local working relationships. The report was drawn up following discussion between representatives of Eastern Region projects in the Community Development Programme. Brian Dillon of Nexus Research and Tony O’Grady of Partners CDP did the bulk of the writing. The group who worked on the report also included: Joe Grennell, Jennifer Flynn, Eve O’Connor, Sarah Kelleher, John Kiely and Sean Lambe. Allen Meagher of ‘Changing Ireland’ provided editorial advice. The Community and Voluntary section of the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs financed the printing and launch of the report. The Eastern Region Network meets regularly and consists of CDP staff and volunteers. Geographically, the Eastern Region comprises Dublin City and the greater Dublin area including Fingal, Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown, parts of Kildare and Wicklow. There are 65 CDPs in the Region.

If there were no CDPs CDPs are at the centre of the ‘social inclusion development infrastructure’ in Ireland. Without them, according to ‘Rekindling The Fire’, the following would happen: • opportunities for social participation and progression for a large number of people would be lost; • a range of programmes aimed at including the most excluded would changing ireland

become impossible to deliver; • a range of other local organisations and projects would cease to exist; • very important lessons on the causes and responses to disadvantage would be lost. The Community Development Programme, since its inception in 1989, has undergone significant change and has grown from 15 projects to 180 projects.

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Recommendations for 2007-2013 ‘REKINDLING The Fire’ argues that many community development projects need access to funding for extra staff. And since community development is a long-term process, the document recommends contracts based on 5-year plans. It argues for the establishment of a national office which would create a national profile that the Community Development Programme sadly lacks. ‘Rekindling The Fire’ strongly proposes the development of a relationship framework between the community sector and the Government which respects the values, approaches and practices of each side. In this context, it recommends: • copper-fasten the independence of the sector and its right to challenge government policy. • agree the development of a Code of Practice for funding the sector. • Government would commit itself to consulting the sector on issues likely to affect it. • a commitment to an annual appraisal of the relationship between Government and the community sector would be agreed in a ‘Compact’ between the community sector and Government. By far the most important factor – as identified by projects in their SPEAK returns – is CDPs’ capacity to become and remain familiar with local organisations and individuals. Continuous outreach is seen as essential across the whole range of working methods – allowing for the project to remain familiar with local issues and local groups; as well as for local organisations and people to become and remain familiar with what the CDP is doing. A number of projects specifically refer to the need to maintain ‘trust’ in their local working relationships.

Projects hosted 3,500 meetings in one year PROJECT workers and volunteers are, for the most part, working directly with people who are frequently isolated and marginalised from even basic social interaction. So, project premises are being successfully used as a ‘safe’ and friendly environment which often act as a first point of contact for the most excluded. Even though projects spend less than 22% of their total time commitment in providing resources, advice and information, levels of activity are extremely high. For example, in a single year, among the 36 groups surveyed in Dublin: • There were 81,603 visits by individuals, and 5,698 visits by community groups to use the facilities of 36 projects in the Eastern Region. • Project premises and meeting spaces were used 3,501 times by local community groups for meetings. • Projects gave information or advice to 23,060 people, and referred approximately 8,655 of these on to other services or agencies.

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CHANGING IRELAND ISSUE 21  

Hot in Issue 21: MAIN STORY: BURNING SOCIAL ISSUES -'This place has changed my life big-time' (New Ross) - Report shows what CDPs actually d...

CHANGING IRELAND ISSUE 21  

Hot in Issue 21: MAIN STORY: BURNING SOCIAL ISSUES -'This place has changed my life big-time' (New Ross) - Report shows what CDPs actually d...

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