Page 5

State support for community development

New programme

during 2010 to be set up

- CDP voluntary management boards are to go The Community Development Programme, first established in 1990, is to be absorbed into a new programme that also incorporates the Local Development and Social Inclusion Programme. The announcement was made on Friday (Sept 18th) by Minister of State (MOS) John Curran and the plan relies on co-operation from projects and personnel to be implemented. All 180 CDP voluntary management boards are to be disbanded. The move was defended by Minister Curran as a way of saving the best of the Community Development Programme “in light of budgetary restraints”. On the other hand, the move has been anticipated for at least two years by people working in the Community Sector and was first flagged by Minister Eamon O’Cuiv in 2004 when he announced the start of the ‘cohesion’ process whereby all community-related supports should come under one roof. However, the “merger” plan is meeting resistance and local projects and national representative fora have lobbied for it to be dropped. It has been dismissed by critics as robbing poor communities of a voice, as an insult to volunteers and as an attack on Community Development work. At the same time as the Programmes are being “aligned”, above-average cuts this year and the threat of more cuts has added to the challenge facing communities as resources may disappear while demand for services is rising. But Minister of State Curran insists this is the only way to save what can be saved as the State is cash-starved. The Minister of State – who has responsibility for Drugs as well as Community Affairs - first broke news of his “alignment” plan to 400 people at a Community and Voluntary Forum conference in Co. Cavan. “I am seeking improved alignment and focus across the range of programmes for which I have responsibility in the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. In this regard, I have been giving particular attention to the redesign of the Local Development Social Inclusion and the

Community Development Programmes,” he said. “I have to say that I am not convinced that two separate programmes and two separate delivery structures is the best way to serve the community. In the current economic climate, the case for a single focussed effective programme is, in my view, indisputable and I will be fighting for resources for the measures covered by the programmes on this basis in the context of the 2010 Budget.” An accompanying press release, which described the process in terms of the “integration” of the 2 programmes, quoted Minister Curran as saying: “We will continue to do everything we can to improve efficiency and prioritise the provision of frontline services to those who need them the most. One single, focussed programme will ensure that services will be more streamlined and will best serve those who use them. “We are currently undertaking a thorough review of the Community Development Programme and will shortly have a full report on the findings and recommendations that arise from that review. “Programme redesign work by the Centre for Effective Services is underway. Overall, we are preparing for a roll-out of a single, redesigned programme in 2010, in the context of the budgetary position,” he added. Management committees of CDPs and Partnership boards received official confirmation of the plan at a meeting in Croke Park, Dublin, on November 25th. Prior to that, the Department had issued a helpful series of 10 written questions and answers on behalf of Minister Curran. (See pages 2425). Since then, the timeframe and some minor details have changed.

5.

Deserted wife laments end of CDP A one-time client of the Community Development Programme who went on to become a volunteer and in recent years a community worker wrote on Sept 24th to lament the demise of the Programme. Cathrina described how the Programme changed her life and said no other programme or agency worked the way the CDP does. “I was first introduced to the Programme in my area 10 years ago. I was a deserted wife left with two children to bring up on my own in a difficult area, I tried other agencies and was left feeling inadequate as a person and just a number at the top of a page. (But) the Community Development Programme supported me to do what I had to do for myself I was treated as a person and allowed to keep my dignity. “The Programme works on a bottomup approach supporting people to do for themselves, NOT giving them what someone thinks they need. That is the Key to the success of the programme. “If the people deciding these things really wanted to know the value of the Community Development Programme they would have asked BUT like everything else in this country its US who will suffer. “He (Minister of State Curran) can say what he wants but its the end of the Community Development Programme as I know it. Save the banks and destroy our communities, we’re only people.”

Not everyone who is poor is socially excluded

Profile for CHANGING IRELAND

CHANGING IRELAND ISSUE 30/31  

Hot in Issue 30/31: bumper Double Issue Community Development Programme to end after 20 years/ 180 projects: facing wind-up in 2010/ New Pro...

CHANGING IRELAND ISSUE 30/31  

Hot in Issue 30/31: bumper Double Issue Community Development Programme to end after 20 years/ 180 projects: facing wind-up in 2010/ New Pro...

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