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North Tipperary Report on Consultations for Local Development Social Inclusion Programme Nenagh Community Network Limited. and Roscrea 2000 Limited. Research and Report by Nora Walls April, 2008 Roscrea 2000 Limited Nenagh Community Network Limited Newline Town Hall Roscrea Banba Square Co. Tipperary. Nenagh Co. Tipperary Ph:0505 23379 E-mail: email@example.com Ph: 067 34900 Web: www.roscrea2000.ie E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org North Tipperary Report on Consultations for Local Development Social Inclusion Programme Acknowledgements Nenagh Community Network and Roscrea 2000 would like to warmly thank all those who gave of their time and expertise to this research on social needs in North Tipperary. We hope that this report is an accurate record of the issues and needs that you identified for North Tipperary. The views expressed in this document are those of the contributors and organisations participating in the research. Nenagh Community Network Limited and Roscrea 2000 Limited are not liable for any use that may be made of the information contained in the report. i North Tipperary Report on Consultations for Local Development Social Inclusion Programme Contents of the report Acknowledgements i Report Summary iii Introduction 1 Review of the Literature 4 Research Methods 29 References 31 APPENDICES – Reports of Interviews and Meetings Appendix 1 NCN - Unemployed People 33 Appendix 2 Roscrea 2000 - People with Experience of Unemployment 37 Appendix 3 NCN Women‟s Groups 42 Appendix 4 Meeting # 1 with Thurles social services agencies 48 Appendix 5 Meeting # 2 with Thurles social services agencies 54 Appendix 6 Rural Social Scheme 60 Appendix 7 BAND Outgoing Board and Staff 65 Appendix 8 Newport Community & Youth Initiative 77 Appendix 9 FÁS Local Training Initiative – Borrisokane 83 Appendix 10 Women at St. Sheelan‟s College, Templemore 88 Appendix 11 North Tipperary Traveller Network 92 Appendix 12 Templemore Social Services 100 ii North Tipperary Report on Consultations for Local Development Social Inclusion Programme Report Summary 1. Introduction The Local Development Social Inclusion Programme (LDSIP) is to be rolled out to all areas of Ireland from 2007 to 2013. Up to 2008, the programme was delivered by the Community Partnership Companies - Nenagh Community Network (NCN) Ltd. and Roscrea 2000 Ltd. in their respective areas. It will be delivered from 2008 in North Tipperary by the new North Tipperary LEADER Partnership Company. The programme is designed to counter disadvantage and to promote equality and social and economic inclusion. The emphasis is on supporting unemployed people and on developing community based initiatives for groups experiencing marginalisation. The programme is managed by Pobal on behalf of the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. To prepare for the extension of the LDSIP throughout North Tipperary, Roscrea 2000 and NCN undertook focus group research to identify some of the main issues and needs in the county. The findings will inform planning and development of services in those areas already served by the LDSIP (approximately 20% of North Tipperary) and in the areas of North Tipperary (approximately 80%) not already reached through the (LDSIP). A Literature Review summarises strategies, plans, and data on local villages and towns and across a range of themes – sports, homelessness, lone parents, local development, Traveller needs, youth needs, etc. across North Tipperary. It highlights the issues and needs and brings together social information for the county. The findings from the present research together the literature provide a richer picture of the needs in North Tipperary. Research with LDSIP Target Groups, Agencies, Board Members and Staff NCN and Roscrea 2000 carried out focus group interviews with seven groups of people taking part in social and development programmes across North Tipperary. This included Women‟s Groups, people who have been unemployed, people on „Return to Work‟ and Information Technology courses and a group employed on Rural Social Scheme project work. Interviews were held with the North Tipperary Traveller Network, with some of the outgoing board members and staff of the Borrisokane Partnership Company and with representatives of agencies providing social services in Thurles town. The findings identify the main issues and needs in North Tipperary. The findings reflect the experience of individuals, groups, boards and staff in North Tipperary. This experience will now influence the LEADER Partnership Company‟s work in extending the LDSIP throughout the county. 2. Main findings Dedicated Development Workers are needed to work and to be based in the areas of Borrisokane, Newport, Templemore and Thurles identified as having particular social need in the main areas identified in the summary below. iii North Tipperary Report on Consultations for Local Development Social Inclusion Programme Need to have locally based Youth Workers to develop Structures for Youth Clubs, After- Schools services and volunteering in areas not currently served by Youth Workers Need for local offices/resource centres in which Development Workers can be based Need for development of local community centres for community development activities Huge value to men‟s and women‟s well being of taking part in social, training & education, personal development and activities groups Need for crisis, health and child development services including counselling, mental health support services and 24 hour intervention to be available to people living in all areas of North Tipperary The need to develop a rural enterprise economy and the social benefits it can bring is needed in particular in rural areas experiencing decline and underemployment. Need for a county strategy and actions to develop sustainable local employment Need to develop more tailored employment supports to meet individual support and information needs of people who are looking for employment of their choice Need for enterprise development and self-employment support services especially in rural areas with high unemployment and where many people leave to find employment outside the area e.g. Borrisokane and surrounding areas Staff providing services to the public need to be trained to work sensitively with people who experience unemployment, low income and discrimination and need to have a broad understanding of inclusion issues Some groups including Traveller groups and Thurles social services agencies want to see action on the issues already identified rather than more consultation The Health, Education and Housing needs of Travellers need to be addressed together with Travellers and those working with the Travelling Community with real results Need to include the knowledge and experience of target groups in designing, delivering and evaluating services and training Need for development of the Rural Social Scheme (RSS) to include enterprise training and development, to address waiting lists and ensure employment and income security Need for supports to farmers on the (RSS) including access to career assessment and advice, to training and to information on courses and subsidies Need to address issues of rural isolation, and lack of social activities for all age groups Need to develop Rural Transport to meet the needs for transport to training, work and social activities on more than one day weekly and for day and evening activities Development of Rural Transport system could be carried out in conjunction with the RSS iv North Tipperary Report on LDSIP Consultations – 2007 - 2008 North Tipperary Report on Consultations for Local Development Social Inclusion Programme 1. Introduction Changes in Rural Development and LDSIP Programmes The Local Development Social Inclusion Programme (LDSIP) is funded through The 1 Department of Community, Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs. From 2008, a new company will deliver Rural Development and Social Inclusion Programmes in North Tipperary. The board of the new company will be made up of representatives from Local Government and Local Authorities, National Social Partners, i.e. trade unions, employers, farming organisations; Community and Voluntary organisations and Statutory sector organisations. The company will have the task of extending and delivering the LDSIP throughout North Tipperary. It will also have responsibility for the continued delivery of rural development programmes throughout North Tipperary. Extending LDSIP throughout North Tipperary The LDSIP which has been delivered in Nenagh, Roscrea and their surrounding areas will be extended to all areas of the county. As part of the pre-development work for extending the LDSIP, Nenagh Community Network (NCN) and Roscrea 2000 are consulting with agencies working with LDSIP target groups and with the target groups themselves to identify issues and needs. The findings from these consultations will shape the focus of the LDSIP extension in North Tipperary. Objectives of the Local Development Social Inclusion Programme The objectives of the LDSIP are to: counter disadvantage promote equality promote social and economic inclusion. The programme does this through the provision of funding and support to Partnerships and Community Groups that adopt a partnership approach to tackling local issues. Funding is provided on the basis of integrated local development plans designed to equitably target opportunities, benefits and development to the most disadvantaged individuals and groups 2 within the partnership areas . 1 The Nenagh Community Network and Roscrea 2000 Partnership companies are amalgamating with Tipperary LEADER Group to form North Tipperary LEADER Partnership Company. The new company will deliver LDSIP and Rural Development programmes in North Tipperary. 2 Adapted from Area Development Management Ltd. ‘Local Development Social Inclusion Guidelines 2000 - 2006’ Area Development Management Ltd. page 8. ADM, Dublin, 2000 1 North Tipperary Report on LDSIP Consultations – 2007 - 2008 History of the LDSIP in North Tipperary Partnership Companies North Tipperary has partnership companies in Roscrea and Nenagh and their environs delivering LDSIP funded supports to approximately 20% of North Tipperary. A third partnership delivered LDSIP funded supports in Borrisokane and its environs until 2007. These companies support projects and local groups and provide funding for development and 3 project workers. Nenagh Community Network Nenagh Community Network (NCN) is a community partnership founded in 1996 and is based in the Old Town Hall, Nenagh. The community partnership company delivers programmes including: Back to Education Initiative (Community Strand) Traveller Development Programme Estate Management Planning a Community Arts Centre Youth Development Programmes FAS Jobs Club FAS Community Employment Programme Roscrea 2000 Limited The work of Roscrea 2000 community partnership includes community development initiatives, education, training and employment supports, supports for young people, people with disabilities, local housing groups, Men‟s groups, Women‟s groups, Travellers and migrants. Projects delivered through the company Include: Education Community based Youth Initiative FAS Community Employment Programme Traveller Primary Health Programme FAS Jobs Club Ascend - Support Service for Women Affected by Domestic Violence Tipperary LEADER Group Tipperary LEADER Group Ltd. delivers the Pobal managed National Rural Development Programme throughout County Tipperary. In addition, it manages the LDSIP funded Rural Transport Initiative in areas of the county. 3 Note: The activities delivered by Roscrea 2000 and by Nenagh Community Network are delivered in partnership with the HSE, FÁS, VEC, Department of Justice & Law Reform and the Department of Social & Family Affairs. 2 North Tipperary Report on LDSIP Consultations – 2007 - 2008 The group is based in Tipperary town and is funded through the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. Programmes include: National Rural Development Programme LEADER + Programme The Rural Transport Initiative CLÁR Programme (community signage, village & countryside enhancement) The Rural Social Scheme Integration of Partnership and LEADER companies LEADER and Partnership companies are funded through the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs to deliver rural development and Local Development Social Inclusion Programmes respectively. A process of integration of the LEADER and partnership companies commenced in 2006 with the aim of achieving greater integration and impact of programmes funded through the department. Rural development and Local Development Social Inclusion Programmes will now be delivered through one company. In North Tipperary, Tipperary LEADER Group and the partnership companies have become integrated as North Tipperary LEADER Partnership Company Limited. Consultations Tipperary LEADER Group, NCN and Roscrea 2000 consulted with the public through a series of six public Consultation meetings in November and December, 2007. These meetings were hosted with a view to A. informing the public of changes to the companies delivering rural and social development programmes and B. to identify rural and social issues and needs in North Tipperary. In addition, Facilitated meetings were hosted with North Tipperary County Development Board Economic and Tourism sub-committees and with North Tipperary County Council SIM group in order to provide feedback from the public consultation meetings and to establish CDB capacities to address LDSIP needs. A meeting was also hosted with North Tipperary Community and Voluntary Agency (CAVA) in order to establish issues around social inclusion for the agency and for member groups. Consultations took place with groups of agencies in the larger urban area of Thurles and in Borrisokane with outgoing board members and with outgoing staff of the board of Borrisokane Area Network Development (BAND). In addition, the two partnership companies carried out research through focus group interviews with people from groups targeted under the LDSIP funding and across North Tipperary. The findings of this research are contained in the appendices to this report. The needs and issues identified in the six public consultation meetings, in Agency focus group meetings and in target group consultations will shape North Tipperary rural and social development plans from 2008 and for the period of the plans. 3 North Tipperary Report on LDSIP Consultations – 2007 - 2008 Layout of the report Where consultation with target groups has been documented elsewhere, the main points arising from those consultations are summarised in section 2 - Review of the Literature. The main points contained in existing strategy documents and plans are also given in section 2. Section 3 –The Research Methods, explains how the consultation with target groups was carried out. Section 4 – References, contains a list of the documents reviewed in the report and information on where these documents can be obtained. The reports on the findings from each of the target group, and agency consultations are in the appendices to this report - pages 32 to 99. 2. Review of the Literature 2.1 Introduction This section reviews a selection of the literature relevant to social inclusion and LDSIP target groups in rural and urban areas of North Tipperary. The literature is grouped under the categories of A. National and North Tipperary countywide reports B. Locally focussed reports. It is further grouped under the following headings: Statistical data on disadvantage in North Tipperary Demographic profiles and audits – youth and youth services provision, sports development and facilities, community facilities Needs analyses – youth, youth recreational needs. Reviews and plans for specific sectors, spatial areas of disadvantage and activities – childcare, youth, Travellers, sports, smallholders, women, etc. 2.2 National and North Tipperary Countywide reports 4 North Tipperary County Development Plan 2004 This is a statutory plan prepared under the Planning and Development Act 2000. It covers the period 2004 to 2010. It sets out a strategy for the proper planning and sustainable development of the county and is required to be consistent with National and Regional Plans, Policies and Strategies relating to proper planning and sustainable development. Principles for the achievement of positive decision-making in the county, include: Putting people first – recognition that planning is about people and enabling them to enjoy a better quality of life 4 North Tipperary County Council North Tipperary County Development Plan 2004, North Tipperary County Council, 2004. Available from North Tipperary County Council Planning Department. 4 North Tipperary Report on LDSIP Consultations – 2007 - 2008 Combating poverty and social exclusion – recognition of people‟s right to fulfil their potential through access to high quality public services, education and employment opportunities, adequate housing and an attractive and safe environment Decision-making – based on sustainable development The plan is based on data from the 2002 Census of Population and takes account of a population increase of 5.3% since 1996 for North Tipperary. It projects further population growth at a slightly higher rate over the period of the plan. However, the plan notes that certain District Electoral Divisions (DEDs) of North Tipperary had experienced a decline in population up to 2002. These areas included: the East Urban area of Nenagh and some larger rural settlements such as Ballingarry, Cloghjordan, Ballycahill, Littleton, Templederry and Upperchurch. Steady decline had also taken place in rural DEDs since 1991 including: Ballycahill, Ballymurreen, Dolla, Foilnamon, Graigue, Glenkeen, Redwood, Lackagh, Templederry, Moyaliff and Upperchurch. Population Dispersal The plan reports that 20% of the population of North Tipperary was concentrated in Thurles and Nenagh, with just under 40% in the four main urban centres of Thurles, Nenagh, Roscrea 5 and Templemore. The county is defined as rural in Character with more than 60% of the population living in rural DEDs. The report projects that if the trend towards increased numbers in the countryside without a balancing increase in the population of villages and towns continues, there is a likelihood of continued increase in rural area populations and continued decline in smaller towns and villages. Deprivation Levels The plan acknowledges that the level of deprivation in North Tipperary was, at 4.2, below the national average of 4.6. However some DEDs had higher levels of deprivation including Graigue and Finnoue at 8 and 9. Some of the more upland areas are also reported to 6 experience disadvantage in terms of access to employment and services . Agriculture In the case of agriculture, the plan states that from 1991 to 2001 the estimated number of farms fell from 4,450 to 3,659. The plan recognises that “The rural economy must be allowed to flourish in sustainable ways if the quality of the countryside is to be secured“. It outlines key issues for policy including: Farm diversification and off-farm employment will require significant investment in the development of human resources The current service and infrastructure deficit will have to be addressed, particularly in villages and rural clusters, in order to retain rural area populations and young people 5 The plan uses the CSO definition of ‘rural’ to include ‘all settlements with a population of less than 1,500 and the open countryside’. 6 See chapter 3.7.. 5 North Tipperary Report on LDSIP Consultations – 2007 - 2008 Increasing demand for recreation space but no national strategy on provision and no hierarchy of needs established. Agricultural land will be required to meet future needs Tourism and agri-tourism can contribute to rural development and farm diversification but their potential is not realised. Childcare Facilities The plan states that: “Facilities should be accessible to all groups, include safe parking for all staff and customers and a safe drop-off area for parents. It requires Action Area Plans to identify locations for childcare facilities”. Public Open Spaces – Minimum Requirements 7 The plan sets out minimum requirements for public open space for every 1,000 persons . This includes Children‟s Play Space Sports Grounds General use. Play Areas - Minimum Requirements 8 It identifies the need in housing developments for Local Areas for Play for 4-6 year olds with limited equipment, fence and a gate and to be located within 1 minutes walking time (60 metres) from houses Local Equipped Areas for Play for 4-8 year olds located within 5 minutes walking time (240 metres) from houses A guideline of a minimum of 10 – 15% of gross site area will be sought by the council for open space. Minimum open space for private apartments and housing depending on their location in town centres, edges of towns or villages. Parking Requirements The plan also sets out requirements for parking for motor vehicles including disabled spaces and for bicycles. It sets out planning requirements as required under national guidelines and regulations for petrol and service stations, commercial developments including shops and for industrial developments. North Tipperary Draft Integrated Traveller Action Plan- July 2007 This draft integrated plan was drawn up by a North Tipperary County Council in response to a government request to draw up integrated strategies in each county. The aim of the plan is to address government concern that Traveller‟s quality of life was not improving along with government investment in services dedicated to the Traveller community. The indicators of 7 See page 70, Chapter 8. 8 See pages 70 - 71, Chapter 8. 6 North Tipperary Report on LDSIP Consultations – 2007 - 2008 quality of Life included “…mortality and life expectancy; morbidity; Education attainment; employment levels…” The draft action plan is based on research and investigation reports and on statements of strategy. It identifies some key issues under the headings of 9 accommodation, health, employment and security. The report draft plan refers to an estimated Traveller population of 86 families in standard and group housing, with 19 families in three halting sites and 26 indigenous families on the roadside. It also refers to over researching and to the need for Travellers to be involved in decisions about carrying out needs assessments and their focus. The report points to health issues for Travellers of: Lower life expectancy Higher infant mortality and high incidence of Sudden Infant Deaths High incidences of specific environment-related illnesses such as dysentery and pneumonia Higher incidences of some specific genetic disorders, Health related behaviours noted among Travellers include: Low GP attendance by males who tend to seek medical advice and care from Traveller women Low use of preventative services Some difficulties of access and feelings of discrimination Literacy related information and awareness Access to basic healthy living conditions The report notes education as a key indicator for life chances and entry to other activities and services. Issues for Traveller education included: High post-primary drop-out rates from the education system, especially amongst male Travellers Difficulties in accessing locations for doing home-work Nomadic lifestyle Employment is noted as key to improving quality of life. Barriers for Travellers in accessing employment include: Discrimination by employers. Nomadic life-style of some Travellers which makes maintenance of main-stream permanent employment problematic. Education and skills of Travellers are less suited to the needs of many employers Literacy issues create difficulties within the Traveller community. Remaining issues concerning Traveller accommodation are stated as: 9 Note. The consultation phase of the development of this plan was commencing at the time of writing this report. 7 North Tipperary Report on LDSIP Consultations – 2007 - 2008 The provision of accommodation that reflects Traveller lifestyle and how this should be reflected in local authority housing programmes The provision of support and mentoring of Travellers in their transition to more permanent accommodation The facilitation of Travellers in a mix of permanent and transitory accommodation to facilitate a more nomadic lifestyle for parts of their lives and the retention of their rights to their permanent accommodation during periods of absence. The provision of adequate accommodation for Travellers that do not wish to occupy more permanent accommodation Other issues from the research and literature include key areas of concern requiring a response. Suggested approaches to address these issues include: Intensive, multi-service and ongoing work on halting sites including repeated encouragement to participate in programmes Traveller participation in the design and implementation of approaches to addressing Traveller issues The development of local fora to accurately represent the needs of Travellers from the Travellers own point of view Awareness Raising for front-line staff on Traveller culture. Including Travellers as providers of this training is seen as important. Training front-line staff in dealing with marginalised groups in general rather than Travellers as a specific identified „problem group‟. Setting targets for participation by Travellers in training and other programmes Dedicated liaison officers for each major service provider Communications appropriate to Traveller symbolism, language, literacy, etc. The establishment of focus groups on Traveller training needs as perceived by Travellers Training the trainers in identifying and responding to Traveller needs Proactive and integrated approaches to training, individual career planning and employment for Travellers Finally, the plan includes a range of actions aimed at addressing the above issues and needs. 10 Childcare Strategy for North Tipperary 2007 – 2010 This strategy is the work of the partnership of voluntary and statutory agencies of North Tipperary Childcare Committee. It follows a 2006 consultative process and reflects data from these consultations and from the 2002 and 2006 Census of Population. The following actions were highlighted: 10 North Tipperary County Childcare Committee, Childcare Strategy for North Tipperary 2007 – 2010, North Tipperary County Childcare Committee, 2007. 8 North Tipperary Report on LDSIP Consultations – 2007 - 2008 Address availability, cost and quality of childcare and need for more drop-in crèche facilities and after-school programmes Information on facilities, standards and promotion of NTCCC information resource Strengthen provider network and establish panels for childminding and relief personnel Encouraging involvement of parents in setting up and managing rural services Use of community resources especially in rural areas and possibility of addressing needs in socially disadvantaged and geographically -peripheral communities Development of additional training to ensure minimum qualifications of all staff Promotion with employers of reduced or more flexible working hours for parents The strategy provides data on the North Tipperary population of 14,102 children across a range of age groups along with data on the dispersal of a range of Childcare facilities. The 13 objectives outlined in the plan are based on needs identified through the consultations, on Census data and on the spatial analyses contained in the report. These objectives are summarised as to: Support and promote local childcare development and standards Enhance provision targeting disadvantage and social inclusion issues Develop county and local level strategies for childcare development Identify and promote childcare for school-age, 0 to 2 and 3 to 4 year old children Promote initiatives for support and inclusion of childminders and enhance childcare networks Identify training needs and identify collaborative response strategies Develop and improve information sharing and learning systems Attract resources to support specific initiatives The report also identifies the need for greater financial support to parents to counteract their 11 difficulties in meeting childcare financial demands e.g. tax relief on childcare expenses . The strategy sets out key targets towards the achievement of the North Tipperary County Childcare committee aims of achieving “…a well supported and developed childcare provision 12 in North Tipperary; improved quality childcare available and accessible to all.”. Gaps in North Tipperary Childcare Services By the end of 2005, 61 sessional and 14 full day services were notified to the HSE. There was a 29% increase in the number of places available from 1999 to 2005. The report identifies the following childcare services issues and needs in North Tipperary at the end of 2005. Need to prioritise meeting the needs of lone parent families “If North Tipperary is to 13 redress the current imbalance in supports to children and disadvantaged families…” 11 See page 23. 12 See page 1. 13 See page 14. 9 North Tipperary Report on LDSIP Consultations – 2007 - 2008 Need for more drop-in crèches and after schools facilities The majority of Electoral Divisions (EDs) do not have any notified childcare services Need to raise awareness of the importance of childcare for rural families particularly with Community Leaders in areas without childcare provision. The aim is to address the needs of people who are socially disadvantaged and of geographically peripheral 14 communities. The report also shows that rural typology of areas within North Tipperary points to social exclusion and structural disadvantage in areas traditionally 15 identified as prosperous farming communities . Need to promote employer flexibility in working hours to allow for parents commuting long distances or whose hours do not coincide with childcare services hours Limited supply of childminders for full-time childcare Data show three clusters that need to be provided with childcare facilities Across the centre of North Tipperary, from Kilcomenty in the West to Timoney in the East In the South, mainly to the West of Thurles In the North of the county The report points to the need for full day care services with extended opening hours in rural areas where parents are likely to travel long distances to work. As well as 16 rural areas, the needs of rural towns need to be prioritised including: Borrisokane Silvermines Borrisoleigh Villages and village nuclei in the centre and north of the area The report highlights the absence of community based facilities in many target areas and the consequent lack of affordable childcare for families on low income. One of the plan‟s targets is to identify opportunities the establishment of community based services for the areas in the above list and also in: Templetouhy Kilcommon Templederry 17 Fantan. The report highlights the inadequacy of a sessional places type service for families wishing to access full-time employment and requiring full-time childcare services. The report sets as targets - appropriate types and number of places/services in Nenagh, Thurles, Newport, Borrisoleigh, Littleton, roscrea, Templemore, Borrisokane and Birdhill. 14 See page 8. 15 See page 15. 16 See page 20. 17 See page 25. 10 North Tipperary Report on LDSIP Consultations – 2007 - 2008 Projected Childcare Needs Newport and Ballina are highlighted as having rapid rates of growth with a high demand for childcare for 0 – 2 year olds. This is expected to continue over the coming decades. Areas showing large clusters of 0-2 year olds are identified as: Birdhill/Ballina area Nenagh and environs Thurles and environs Roscrea and environs Environs of Templemore Rural parts in the East and South of North Tipperary including Templetouhy, Kilcommon, Templederry, Fantan and Borrisoleigh. Borrisokane and Cloughjordan. The above EDs also have needs for childcare provision for the 3-4 year old group with the Killea and Borrisnoe areas emerging as having a high concentration of 3-4 year olds. Finally, provision of after-school services is identified as a need throughout North Tipperary for after-school and holiday times. Primary schools are suggested as being potential locations 18 for available and accessible after school childcare for school-going children. A key target is to establish school-age childcare in target areas of : Portroe Birdhill Newport Borrisokane Roscrea Templemore Borrisoleigh Thurles Holycross 19 Analysis of the North Tipperary demographic profile of youth This analysis, based on 2002 census data and completed in 2006, was undertaken with a view to informing North Tipperary VEC and Tipperary Youth Services‟ strategic planning for youth services in the county. It explored unemployment and proportions of early school leavers (those who had left formal schooling prior to age 15) as indicators of disadvantage. The analysis of census data showed that young people between the ages of 0-19 were dispersed throughout North Tipperary, in particular, those in the younger age groups. The 18 See page 31. 19 Tipperary Regional Youth Services and North Tipperary County Development Board ‘Analysis of the Demographic Profile of Youth and Audit of Youth Services Provision: North Tipperary County Council Area’, Tipperary Institute, April, 2006. 11 North Tipperary Report on LDSIP Consultations – 2007 - 2008 largest numbers of young people were in the larger towns, their immediate rural hinterlands and in new growing urban centres of Ballina and Abington. However, hinterlands of larger towns and some rural electoral divisions had the highest proportions of young people relative to the rest of the population. Indicators of disadvantage The largest numbers of those in the total population whose education had ceased by 15 years or less were in the main towns of Thurles, Roscrea, Nenagh West Urban and other towns and 20 villages . Largest numbers of those aged 15 years and over who were unemployed were in Thurles Urban, Nenagh West Urban and Roscrea. This suggests that the largest numbers of young people (under 19 years of age in 2002) who were both early school leavers and unemployed were in these DEDs. However, some rural electoral divisions, with high rates of people who were both unemployed and early school leavers were relatively more disadvantaged. The largest numbers of young people with a disability were in Roscrea, Thurles Urban and Nenagh West Urban. Roscrea had the largest number of members of the Traveller Community followed by: Littleton, Thurles Urban and Rural, Templemore and Nenagh East Urban. The report acknowledges the stronger base of needs in the towns alongside a need to 21 address problems of disadvantage in more rural parts of the county . Audits of facilities and services provision 19 Audit of Youth Services provision in North Tipperary (2006) This audit of youth services provision - defined as youth work organisations under the Youth Work Act 2001. It excludes activities only related to sport, cultural activities provided privately and purely school based initiatives. Youth services provisions included (i) membership based services and organisations including youth clubs, youth groups and uniformed groups (e.g. scouts, guides), (ii) special services provided by Regional Youth Services (TRYS) including Youth Information Services, facilities and equipment and (iii) special projects for specific groups e.g. Travellers, Neighbourhood Youth Projects (Foróige) or youth projects funded under LDSIP in Borrisokane, Nenagh and Roscrea, (iv) Other voluntary and community sector projects targeted on young people. Special youth projects offer a similar range of activities to youth clubs. They are reported however, to be more intensive and to often include one-to-one as well as group support. Those in the LDSIP areas of Borrisokane (up to 2007), Nenagh and Roscrea were supported under LDSIP grants. These included Neighbourhood and County Youth Projects in Nenagh (Foróige and ADM / LDSIP), Thurles (Traveller and youth), Templemore (youth), Roscrea 20 Towns with largest numbers of early school leavers - in order of numbers of young people were: Thurles, Roscrea, Nenagh West Urban, Nenagh East Urban, Templemore, Newport, Littleton, Holycross, Borrisoleigh, Borrisokane and Templetuohy. 21 See page ii of the Tipperary Regional Youth Services and North Tipperary County Development Board report. 12 North Tipperary Report on LDSIP Consultations – 2007 - 2008 (ADM / LDSIP), and Borrisokane (ADM / LDSIP). These projects also include after-school / homework clubs and Summer camps. The report states that “…there is much more provision of clubs / activities for younger children and much less for teenagers, particularly older 22 teenagers.” The numbers of young people involved in youth projects and clubs was reported to be very small relative to the numbers of young people in the county. There were areas without (eg. Ballina and Newport) or only served through one full-time equivalent Youth Worker. Youth information was the service delivered to the largest numbers of people – both young people and parents. Funding is reported to be small relative to the numbers of young people in the county. Some organisations relied on voluntary giving and workers. Funding was mainly for staff with very little aimed at structural expenditure and youth activities. Fundraising was therefore necessary. In disadvantaged communities, LDSIP was a significant source of funding. Active labour market programmes (eg. FAS Community Employment Scheme) were important resources for staffing of key services (eg. youth information services) and special projects. The report noted the trend of providing out of hours facilities – alcohol free “Youth Cafés” where young people can meet in an alcohol free-setting under supervision. Such a café was open in Thurles while a Youth Café was planned for Nenagh. At the time of the audit, it was felt that Garda Diversion Projects in Nenagh, Roscrea, Thurles and Newport were needed for young people at risk of criminality. Lack of suitable premises, insufficient numbers of qualified youth workers, lack of administrative support and shortage of volunteers were key issues in several cases in the study. Other issues were the “…difficulties of working with, and resourcing the support of young people who are highly socially disadvantaged and often at risk of or involved in 23 criminality.” A more collaborative working model to allow development of a broader provision of services and to promote greater efficiency in use was identified by some of those consulted. 24 North Tipperary Sports and Community Facilities Audit This is a comprehensive database of sports and community Facilities in North Tipperary carried out for North Tipperary Sports Partnership. The aim was to provide data and public information on the range of facilities, their condition and on gaps. This was in order to facilitate targeting of planning and development. It was also to identify needs for development, and blackspot areas. The aim of the audit was also to provide baseline information to enable targeting of development in the county. The audit shows that: 22 See page iii of the report. 23 See page iii of the report. 24 North Tipperary Sports Partnership, North Tipperary Sports & Community Facilities Audit, North Tipperary Sports Partnership, November, 2003 13 North Tipperary Report on LDSIP Consultations – 2007 - 2008 There are a wide range of public and private facilities Many developments have a very limited range of facilities Private facilities tend to be located in larger urban areas and to be of a narrow range of facility types Many facilities lack basic amenities and require improvement Many facilities are restricted to members of specific clubs or sports Facilities for people with a disability are limited Barriers to improving facilities: Difficulty in applying for planning permission for improvements Finance Scale of the facility Ownership and management of facilities is not always the same 25 North Tipperary Sports Partnership Review and Action Plan 2007-2012 The aim of the North Tipperary Sports partnership is to facilitate local communities and organisations to develop and improve facilities and programmes through education, training and assistance in accessing funding and information. The focus includes targeting support to marginalised groups and sectors of the population underrepresented in sport and recreation. The report cites research indicating: Lower than optimum participation in sport and physical activity in Ireland Fall–off in participation on leaving school and structured environments Lifestyle and life cycle associated factors as reasons for discontinuing participation in sport and physical activity Need to consider introducing young people to sports with lifelong sustainability Females are less likely than males to participate in sport and are likely to participate in a narrow range of activities Availability of facilities for non-competitive sport (eg. Swimming pools, safe walking routes, etc.) may have a greater impact than facilities for competitive sports Need to address activities and parts of the community not focussed on by the major organisations (older people, females, disadvantaged people, people with a disability, minority sports, recreational sports, etc.) Non-efficacy of promotional and advertising actions in targeting those not already engaged in sport and physical activity Higher levels of participation among higher socio-economic groups, in particular, activities with higher life long sustainability. Some of the issues that the North Tipperary Sports Partnership will address include: 25 North Tipperary Sports Partnership, North Tipperary Sports Partnership: Review and Action Plan 2007 – 2012, North Tipperary Sports Partnership, September, 2007. 14 North Tipperary Report on LDSIP Consultations – 2007 - 2008 Decline in levels of sporting activity among young people Greater emphasis on non-competitive sports Lack of knowledge of nutrition and its relation to sport, exercise benefits etc. Decrease in parental support and volunteering for sports and physical activities Participation by people with a disability Difficulties in recruiting referees, coaches Social barriers and barriers to access to facilities for marginalised groups Optimal use of existing resources and sourcing of funding. The report recommends focussing on key, clearly defined groups including: people in disadvantaged areas and people over 65. It also recommends carrying out of a county-level participation survey in addition to tracking the levels of participation in sport and physical activity. The plan refers to influences including changing social norms, culture and patterns of leisure behaviour as outside of the remit of the Local Sports Partnership. It points out that, as a consequence significant changes may not result from measures taken by the partnership. Needs Analyses and Consultations 26 North Tipperary Comhairle na nÓg - 2007 North Tipperary Comhairle na nÓg was a County Development Board initiative for young people from 12 to 17 years of age. The aim was to facilitate young people to have a say in issues that affect their lives. 38 males and 42 females (80 young people) from a variety of backgrounds including early school leavers, people with disabilities, Travellers and marginalised youth were invited to attend. The outcomes of the meeting were: 27 The identification of a range of core issues under two broad headings of: Education – Delegates identified issues that affect their social, physical and academic development. They outlined some issues to be addressed in order to improve their lives and remove barriers against fully benefiting from education. Mental and Emotional Health – Young people were very clear about mental, emotional and physical health issues. They acknowledged the importance of image and appearance to their sense of wellbeing. Delegates stressed information, medical and counselling services as necessary supports to deal with mental and emotional health issues. Election of 15 representatives to County Comhairle na nÓg working group Election of 5 of the above as representatives to national Dáil na nÓg 26 County Development Board, North Tipperary Comhairle na nÓg – 2007. North Tipperary County Development Board, 2007. 27 See full report for details. 15 North Tipperary Report on LDSIP Consultations – 2007 - 2008 28 Factsheet - North Tipperary: Migrant Workers This factsheet, based on the 2006 census of population, indicates that 5,361 non-Irish persons were recorded as resident in North Tipperary in 2006, representing 8.2% of the population. A high proportion of this population were UK citizens, 23.5% were Polish, 9.5% 29 were Lithuanian, 22.7% were other EU nationals and 27.8% were from the rest of the world. 56% of the non–Irish population lived in the towns, with the vast majority of non-Irish rural dwellers living in the hinterlands of towns. The town of Nenagh had the highest population of non-Irish at approximately 1,150 persons, followed by Thurles (ca. 700), Roscrea (ca. 670) and Templemore (ca.150). The highest African population was in Thurles (9.4% of the town‟s population), with much lower percentages for Nenagh (2.5%) and Templemore (2.0%). The highest Asian populations were in Thurles (7.8%), Roscrea (5.4%) and Nenagh (5.0%), while Templemore recorded 0.7% Asian residents. Thurles had a lower proportion of European population at 68.8% compared to an average of 82.0% for other towns. 30 The Information Needs of Migrant Workers in County Tipperary The findings of this study present an initial profile of the North Tipperary migrant population and some evidence of information needs. It was based on responses from 219 people and was carried out prior to the release of 2006 census data. General findings included: More than two thirds of respondents were married or partnered with approximately one quarter of them being separated between countries The majority were aged in their twenties, thirties, or forties with 3% younger than twenty or older than 54 Approximately half of respondents had children in the various age groups (not all living with their parents in Ireland) Migrant workers were dispersed equally between the county‟s towns A majority were Catholic while a wide range of other religions were also represented. Over half of respondents had arrived in Ireland since November/December, 2005 40% had lived in Ireland for between one and five years Language skills High numbers of respondents to the survey spoke English as a second language Over half of those recently arrived spoke little English High interest in improving English language skills (need not met at the time of the study through ESOL provision) 28 County Tipperary Information Service, Factsheet North Tipperary: Migrant Workers, County Tipperary Information Service, 2007. 29 This figure included Bulgarians and Romanians, as their countries had not joined the EU at the time of the census. 30 Hogan, Antje, Gilbertson, Jo & Foxton Mary, The Information Needs of Migrant Workers in County Tipperary, County Tipperary Information Service – March 2007. 16 North Tipperary Report on LDSIP Consultations – 2007 - 2008 Skill levels Many were employed below their educational and qualification levels Manufacturing, retail and catering trades show the highest rates of employment of non-nationals in the county Non-EU/EEA nationals are largely employed in the agricultural sector Comments regarding information services Three quarters of information meets quality expectations Access barriers, inaccuracy and comprehensiveness of information Migrant workers are most likely to consult friends and family for information on accommodation, childcare, education, employment, transport and English lessons. Service providers are contacted directly for legal and health services, financial advice and social and welfare issues Many expressed a need for information in their native languages. Basic needs expressed Information on employment rights and legislation Information on steps to take in the case of misconduct by an employer Information that appeals processes re: employment rights and legislation are free of charge Other findings: Low participation rate in social and cultural activities in their host communities Preferred leisure activities included hobbies and pastimes that do not encourage social mixing Lack of awareness of existing opportunities in communities Action Plans and Strategies 31 North Tipperary Sports Partnership Action Plan The North Tipperary Sports Partnership‟s Action Plan is a response to National Sports Council policy on sports and participation. It sets out a vision for “…high quality, indoor and outdoor facilities and amenities, used to their maximum potential and providing access to a menu of sports activities appropriate to the needs and interests of all citizens.”. The plan sets out a range of actions including: carrying out an audit of facilities, maximising funding for infrastructural development, supervision and management training for those responsible for facilities and amenities, website development, maintaining data on sports participation, establishment of a county sports forum, initiation, support and evaluation of pilot initiatives towards development of local Strategic sports plans, primary school teachers support 31 North Tipperary Sports Partnership, North Tipperary Sports Partnership - Strategic Plan 2003 - 2006, North Tipperary Sports Partnership, 2002 17 North Tipperary Report on LDSIP Consultations – 2007 - 2008 programme and development of relationships with other agencies involved in sports development. 32 North Tipperary Economic, Social and Cultural Strategy, 2002 - 2012 The County Development Board (CDB) developed this strategy to address areas of particular importance in North Tipperary. The development of the strategy included consultation with a 33 range of people in the county. The key social issues identified include : Education and Training Poverty and families with inadequate income Isolation/safe and supportive communities Youth at risk Ethnic groups Housing Health Culture The plan identifies other areas that affect social issues including: rural, agricultural, industrial and enterprise development and investment, tourism, infrastructure, etc. Strategic elements of the plan are being implemented and reviewed on an ongoing basis by CDB working groups and organisations committed to participation and to implementation of the strategy. 34 Homeless Strategy and Action Plan (2007 – 2009) North Tipperary December, 2006 The plan emphasises addressing accommodation needs on a local basis and in permanent and ordinary accommodation with necessary supports to meet needs. The plan emphasises the role of the Homeless Forum and in particular, the HSE and County Council in: A. Improving understanding, information and responses to the needs of homeless people or those at risk of homelessness B. Inputting into the development of policy in relation to homelessness. The main issues identified in the plan as associated with homelessness or risk of homelessness are: Low income Unemployment Disability Being on Social Welfare payments Structural factors 32 North Tipperary County Development Board, North Tipperary Economic, Social and Cultural Strategy, 2002 – 2012, North Tipperary County Development Board, 2002. 33 See page 3. 34 Murtagh & Partners, Social and Economic Consultants, ‘Homeless Strategy and Action Plan (2007 – 2009)’, North Tipperary Homeless Forum, December, 2006 18 North Tipperary Report on LDSIP Consultations – 2007 - 2008 Affordable accommodation The Action Plan identifies social risk factors contributing to becoming homeless or to risk of becoming homeless as: Physical and sexual abuse Family disputes or breakdown Institutional care in childhood School exclusion Lack of qualifications Debt – especially rent or mortgage arrears Drug use Alcohol use Mental or physical health 35 In addition, the plan refers to training, unemployment and poverty as the broad issues that need to be addressed. 36 The Action Plan emphasises the following issues for the Homeless Forum : The importance of local responses to tackling homelessness The majority of people who have been homeless are from a small number of geographic areas in the region – all areas of high deprivation Need for local and early interventions to prevent people from becoming homeless. Accessible, effective information, advice and advocacy to prevent homelessness by assisting people at risk to be aware of their options and by mediating with families and landlords Where the above interventions fail and emergency accommodation is required, the plan emphasises the need to ensure the return of homeless people to permanent housing with additional supports of varying intensiveness and: Placement to accommodation in the local area (emergency and existing, voluntary, community based housing rather than large hostels and other temporary or transitional accommodation) The plan also identifies the need for provision of concurrent services which support homeless 37 people in pursuit of training, employment, education and other vocational needs. 38 National Policy Report on the Labour Market Initiative for Lone Parents This report summarises learning from 19 national local projects including the North Tipperary pilot project co-ordinated by the Community and Enterprise Directorate of North Tipperary County Development Board. The aim of the initiative is to demonstrate effective ways of 35 See reference to Harvey on page 23 of the report. 36 See page 56. 37 See page 53. 38 NDP Gender Equality Unit, Department of Justice, Equality & Law Reform, ‘ The Labour Market Initiative for Lone Parents – Summary Findings and Recommendations’ December, 2007. 19 North Tipperary Report on LDSIP Consultations – 2007 - 2008 supporting the labour market integration of lone parents at local level. Learning for national policy and for local engagement with lone parents included 1. Lone parents want to work but need further supports to make this possible; 2. Need to address barriers preventing lone parents in receipt of welfare payments from progressing into employment. Priority actions identified were: A need for improved information on options available, Better childcare supports Increased part-time education, training and employment options. Good public transport in rural and urban areas as key to effective participation in work. 39 Evaluation of North Tipperary Lone Parent Initiative Project The recommendations of the evaluation included the following: Providing adequate lead-in time for planning, recruitment and identification of participants. Interagency work to development of this „Gateway‟ project was felt to be an effective approach to the work. The Back to Education Initiative was felt to be a useful tool to support the initiative. Projects should focus on a broader range of target groups and not just lone parents. Need for individual interventions to meet each person‟s individual and specific needs. (in addition to group interventions) On a broader policy level, the evaluation recommended: Mainstreaming of the project through a Local Employment Service (LES) or through the planned North Tipperary LEADER Partnership company Support to lone parents over a 2 – 3 year period due to the expected impact of policy change in Lone Parent Payments. 2.3 Local Community and Village Reports and Plans 40 41 Cloughjordan Integrated Village Plan – 2006 & Littleton Integrated Village Plan- 2005 Both of these villages worked with their communities, with North Tipperary County Council and with Tipperary LEADER to provide a public statement regarding how they wanted their village to develop for the future. This focussed on identifying issues and developing a plan to include village planning, infrastructure, social, economic and environmental improvements in their respective villages. The Integrated Village Plan for Littleton is proposed to form part of the statutory Local Area Plan for the village. The Cloughjordan plan was set to become a statutory plan. 39 Social Inclusion Measures Group, ‘Summary of measures arising from project funded under the NDP Gender Equality Unit’s Lone Parent Initiative’, January, 2007. 40 Keith Simpson & Associates, Cloughjordan Integrated Village Plan – 2006 41 Keith Simpson & Associates, Littleton Integrated Village Plan – 2005 20 North Tipperary Report on LDSIP Consultations – 2007 - 2008 Littleton In Littleton, social issues identified included: Perception of a lack of community pride in the village Difficulties in getting volunteers for community groups Need for a Community Centre Need for public park Need for development of private and affordable housing to balance the mix of housing tenure Need for strengthening of village wide communication, community integration, community spirit eg. through music, sport, etc. Need to overcome poor image of village Need for Citizens Advice Centre Need for consultation with village youth Need for toddlers‟ playground in Derrynaflan Population, social and economic situation of Littleton The population of Littleton declined between 1996 and 2002 at a time when the population elsewhere was growing. This is considered to be associated with social and economic trends in the village. The consultation revealed the following issues: A significant lack of facilities for the young population of the village. While employment in agriculture has declined, the village does not appear to have benefited from growth in high-tech industry and employment Many in employment appeared to be travelling outside Littleton for employment. The percentage of local authority housing was, at 20% double that of the county and the state. Educational levels were low and well below those for the county and the state. At the time of the 2002 census, 24% of the village population was aged between 0 and 24. However, there were no childcare facilities in the village. The report recommends that the above issues, together with environmental and heritage issues be addressed in order to enhance the social and economic structures of the village. Cloughjordan Cloughjordan, like Littleton, had a declining population up to 2002. This decline is analysed as due to out migration and an ageing population and a decreased birth rate. The decline is expected to reverse with the planned development of 200 dwellings in the village. Issues include: Need to upgrade the skills and educational levels of the village workforce Decline in agricultural and manufacturing sectors Lack of manufacturing, tourism and locally based sustainable industry 21 North Tipperary Report on LDSIP Consultations – 2007 - 2008 Need for increased/new affordable childcare places to cater for increasing population Lack of facilities for children and teenagers Closure of youth club Need for a Community Development Officer position to co-ordinate development of community and services No local bus network serving the village, infrequent train services No Rural Transport Initiative or transport system for the elderly Need to improve facilities and amenities for elderly Need for home social services to elderly and people living in rural areas Lack of a multi-purpose community space adequate to meet the needs of the present and expanded community Increased Garda presence to improve safety and sense of security Closure of local services –bank and threatened closure of Post Office Need to develop commerce and sales of local produce in the village 42 Nenagh development Plan, 2007 The plan is a statutory document setting out Nenagh Town Council‟s framework for the planned sustainable development of Nenagh for a six - year period. The Vision of the plan includes quality of life – to promote social and cultural amenities and encourage development of a vibrant community spirit. It seeks to redress social inequalities and polarisation, engage with the public and seek consensus on planning for the future. 43 Nenagh Community Network Traveller Development Plan The plan was developed following a review of the partnership company‟s 2004 – 2006 Traveller Development Plan and consultation with stakeholders and beneficiaries. The plan 44 estimates a population of 100 Travellers in the three Nenagh EDs and a high rate of disadvantage measured on every indicator of disadvantage: unemployment , poverty, social exclusion, health status, infant mortality, life expectancy, education and training levels, access to decision making and political representation, accommodation and living conditions. The report states that: “Prior to the adoption of a Traveller Development Plan in 2004, participation by adult Travellers in educational activities was low, retention of children in schools was 45 problematic and overall civic participation was low.” . The report refers to significant recordable progress on these issues and the plan sets out to address remaining challenges for NCN at local level. These include: Supporting children‟s retention/achievement at school Assisting parents to support children‟s retention/achievement at school 42 Nenagh Town Council, Nenagh Development Plan, Nenagh Town Council, 2007 43 Nenagh Community Network, Traveller Development Plan 2007 –2010, NCN, 2007 44 This figure is based on numbers of Travellers accessing NCN services of the Traveller population, 45 See page 5 of the report. 22 North Tipperary Report on LDSIP Consultations – 2007 - 2008 Supporting participation of children/young people in mainstream youth and sports activity Supporting and identifying progression paths for women and for early school leavers Engaging men in life skills and training activities Improving health and well being of Travellers Supporting fuller participation by local Travellers in civic life and retention in mainstream services. The plan highlights the need for community work personnel and for funding to maximise local progress through an integrated approach to development. 46 Nenagh Youth Needs Analysis This is a report on needs of young people living in and around the Nenagh and gaps as seen by a group of young people. The needs are identified through a survey of 163 young people, through focus groups with class groups and through service providers and desk research. The town is estimated to have a population of 347 aged between 15 and 18 years of age. Key issues identified The key issues identified by young people include: A very high level of frequent alcohol use Poor opinion of Nenagh as a place to live among the young people Poor choice of activities in Nenagh outside of competitive sports High numbers of females with no extra curricular activity involvement The key issues identified by key professionals as not being met currently (2004) included: Need for proactive responses and to support, to young people to enable them to stay in school longer, prevent at risk behaviours etc. Need for sense of safety while maintaining independence or engaging in out of school activities Need to facilitate young people without family or community structures to make positive life choices A key response identified by both young people and agencies was the provision of Youth Friendly Facilities. Recommendations included the provision of Youth Workers and targeted programmes to meet the needs of specific groups including: young men and women, people at risk of early school leaving and those at risk of substance misuse. 46 Heenan, Niall, Nenagh Youth Needs Analysis, Nenagh Community Network and Foróige, 2004. 23 North Tipperary Report on LDSIP Consultations – 2007 - 2008 47 Newport Youth Needs Analysis – 2006 The majority of young people were happy with family life and would like to live in Newport on completing their education Too few facilities for those not interested in sport 88% of males participate in sport, while 44% of young females were not involved in any form of organised sport 80% of all respondents would like to have creative arts activities available Need for personal development opportunities was consistently identified Lack of out of school development opportunities was identified by teachers No recognised safe „hang out‟ area for young people Young people drinking (61%) and „using drugs‟ (8%) Need for improved access to counselling and a general information centre to respond to alcohol and drug use Need for higher Garda visibility and presence in response to unreported crime and perpetrator intimidation Sense of isolation among early school leavers involved in anti-social behaviour – wish to belong and to be involved in local opportunities Need for redevelopment of the community centre Lack of volunteers to provide services to increasing population of young people Need for out of school homework supports Specific targeted outreach programme for „at risk‟ young people Training in subjects relevant to young people e.g. Motor mechanics and car safety, Drug and Alcohol Awareness Training 48 Templemore Community Services – Planning for the Future The plan sets out a range of measures to meet the needs in the community. Templemore Community Services considers that measures 3 and 6 of the plan are the main areas needing LDSIP support. Measure 3 – Young People Needs identified include: Development of a Youth Service A Drop-in Centre Development of facilities to meet young people‟s needs and develop their capacities Support young people who are caring for parents 47 Elaine Hogan and Ní Charka, Caitríona Youth Needs Analysis 2006 – Newport, County Tipperary – Summary Version, Nenagh Community Network, 2007 48 Templemore Community Services – Planning for the Future, Templemore Community Services, 2007. 24 North Tipperary Report on LDSIP Consultations – 2007 - 2008 Measure 6 – Community Development Work with Socially excluded groups towards increasing their skills and capacities for engaging in processes and decisions that affect the quality of their lives Support social inclusion of excluded individuals and groups Capacity building to enable local people and community groups to participate fully in the development of their community. Recommendations The report recommends an integrated interagency approach to providing services and 49 facilities for which resources are required. 50 Report on the Recreational Needs of Young People in Thurles – December 2005 This study reports on a survey carried out by students in Thurles schools with 704 students aged from 12 to 18 years. The survey data suggest that many young people in Thurles do not feel positive about living in Thurles. Reasons included: “nothing to do…”; “no places for young people to go…”; “anti- 51 social behaviour” and “rough people” at certain times and places. Young people were more likely than others nationally to report feeling unsafe. More than half of those surveyed reported not being able to do what they wanted with their friends in their spare time citing reasons as: homework / work; nowhere to go; parents; transport and money. Both males and females were less likely to report being “happy” or “very happy” about their life at present than nationally. The five „single biggest needs‟ identified were: A leisure centre Somewhere to hang out An arcade Outdoor activities Indoor activities A Disco. 52 Thurles 4 Estates report (2007) This study was carried out in four housing estates in Thurles to identify: The causes of and extent of poverty Needs of residents 49 Note: Since this study was carried out a Youth Worker has been in situ under LDSIP funding and NCN management. 50 Hanafin, Dr Sinéad and members of the Thurles Recreation Youth Partnership, Report on the Recreational Needs of Young People in Thurles, December, 2005 51 See page 26. 52 Thurles Town Council website, Thurles 4 Estates, 2007, www.thurlestc.ie 25 North Tipperary Report on LDSIP Consultations – 2007 - 2008 Following facilitated work in 2000 a Council Liaison Officer and part-time Administrator were appointed to link between Thurles Town Council and the estates. A Community Development Officer was appointed to work with the communities. The data from the 2007 study show that 78% of houses in the four housing estates relied on Social Welfare with 27% of Heads of Households receiving Social Welfare supports. Issues highlighted as leading to unemployment were: Childminding constraints for lone parents Illness and disability Lack of services and amenities Social stigma associated with the estate Vandalism Under age drinking and drug abuse Money lending Horses on the estate The report also points to the achievements for the estates and to the success of the multi agency approach in supporting the development of the four estates. 53 Thurles Action for Community Development Ltd, Workplan for 2007-2010 and Links of 54 Key areas of Work with the CDB Strategic Plan The work plan sets out TACD strategies to address issues in the community. Concerns include: Community concerns about lack of recreational facilities for youth Increase in anti-social behaviour Need for a range of good quality affordable childcare places Safety for older people living alone Demand for local authority housing far exceeding the supply available. The plan highlights 2002 Census data showing: Smaller population increase of 8.65% in Thurles compared to an increase of 13.7% for North Tipperary Relatively high proportions in Thurles of older people, people in local authority housing, and people educated to only primary or lower secondary level. Poor learning opportunities and early experiences of education for many of those in the project target groups were identified as issues that could be addressed through development of TACD, Tipperary Institute and affordable community based childcare. 53 Thurles Action for Community Development Ltd, Workplan for 2007-2010, TACD, 2007. 54 Thurles Action for Community Development Ltd, Links of Key Areas of Work with the CDB Strategic Plan, TACD, 2007. 26 North Tipperary Report on LDSIP Consultations – 2007 - 2008 The workplan states that “The overall picture is of a town with a lame economy, offering poor employment prospects to its citizens and with many people under-achieving socially and educationally.” The TACD document - Links of Key areas of Work with the CDB Strategic Plan states the following areas of work for TACD Youth including interagency work and promotion of inclusion in community and voluntary activities Estate based training including enhancing residents‟ capacities to engage in estate management, identification of groups experiencing educational disadvantage, identification of supports needed and seeking resources Travelling Community including interagency approach to addressing issues and identifying solutions and co-ordinated employment and support services Men‟s Club including organising a steering group to develop programmes and the club Networking integrating literacy and numeracy throughout programmes, looking at feasibility of providing job coaching and training through TACD, incorporating Parent and Toddler Group training and development needs into TACD plan and investigating transport systems for safe transport of parents and toddlers to meetings. Evaluation and Research Documents 55 Creating Your Own Future Creating Your Own Future was an EU funded - Leonardo da Vinci transnational project. The project was led by North Tipperary VEC within an agriculture and lifelong learning sector partnership. The project identified a range of issues for farm families through a series of 56 meetings with farm families, through research and through analysis of census data. The issues included: Increase in numbers of farm families working in off-farm employment Lack of time as the main constraint to accessing off-farm employment Farmers with smallholdings (of on average 82 acres) are more likely to have off-farm income Need for farm families to be employed close to their farm (in order to be close to the farm for chores and to respond to farm emergencies) Tendency for farm families to engage in physical and labouring work off-farm. 55 St Sheelan’s College, New Futures – Leonardo da Vinci Project - Creating Your Own Future, St Sheelan’s College, 2006. 56 New Futures – Leonardo da Vinci Project, Building a Future for Rural Communities Through Lifelong Learning, St Sheelan’s College 2007. 27 North Tipperary Report on LDSIP Consultations – 2007 - 2008 Outcomes of the project included: Recognition of the range of skills held by farm families – business and entrepreneurial skills being the core skills held Designing the „Creating Your Own Future Programme‟- developing personal confidence, planning and self - management skills in order to maximise the value of farmers‟ skills for employment. New awareness in the lifelong learning sector of information needs of farm families Awareness of barriers for farm families in accessing lifelong learning and information A computer based information guide to lifelong learning opportunities in North Tipperary Recognition of the need for longer term support in the process of change for members of farm families who took part in the pilot project A report on the baseline data for the work of the project. 2.4 Conclusion to the Literature Review This section has summarised the main points from documents that are relevant to social inclusion and the LDSIP in North Tipperary. These documents set the policy making, strategic and community contexts within which work has taken place up to now. The data presented is that on which work has been planned and in many cases is ongoing. However, there are a number of areas for which little qualitative and quantitative data is available. The 2006 Census of Population and analyses will provide a range of statistical data for the county and for DEDs including information on disadvantage including unemployment, household income, highest levels of educational attainment reached and so on. There are areas of the county which have not been covered by the LDSIP programme up to 2007 and for which there is little qualitative research showing how people experience disadvantage within their communities. Section 4 looks at findings from focus group research with groups and agencies in North Tipperary. The research was carried out during 2007 and 2008 with groups of people with direct experience of social issues and needs in North Tipperary. During the period in which this research was carried out, it was not possible to carry out in-depth enquiry with every geographical area and community with common interests and needs. Recommendations for further research are made where this appears appropriate. This includes recommendations from agencies to carry out research with a view to developing a clearer picture of issues, needs and numbers of people who may be experiencing disadvantage e.g. Thurles. The f section also presents findings from consultation meetings with interagency groups and networks with direct experience of social issues or working on the frontline with LDSIP target groups. The findings add breadth and meaning to the data from the documents summarised in the present section. 28 North Tipperary Report on LDSIP Consultations – 2007 - 2008 3. Research Methods How the research was carried out The research and consultation was carried out using desk research, through focus group and individual interviews. One interview was carried out by telephone because of distance from Roscrea where the researcher was based. The methods for the research included 1. A review of literature on countywide and local research, facilities audits, development plans and strategic documents. 2. Focus groups with agencies providing social services to the Thurles town area 3. Meeting and focus groups with the North Tipperary Traveller Network 4. Focus group with members of the outgoing board of Borrisokane Area Network Development (BAND) 5. Individual interviews with three outgoing members of staff of BAND 6. Focus group interviews with groups experiencing unemployment or within the LDSIP target group populations Focus group and individual interviews were chosen as the research method because they are useful in looking at issues and concerns with people who have personal or professional experience of these issues. Reviewing relevant literature and interviewing different types of groups provides a method for triangulation. This is a way of checking through different methods and sources, whether the information gathered is particular to one group or is true for a range of people e.g. in the county. Focus group and individual interviews The researcher arranged the interviews and meetings through phone contact with individuals or key staff who worked with the groups and through letter to groups who were not meeting on a daily basis. Written information was also e-mailed to participants to explain why the consultations were taking place and to ask them to take part. The interviews took place from November, 2007 to February, 2008. Participants were asked for their permission to record interviews electronically for the purpose of accurate recording and writing up of the interviews. All focus groups were recorded. Electronic recordingsare destroyed when the group‟s report is completed. Two individual interviews and a telephone interview were recorded by handwritten note. Participants Numbers of people taking part in the focus groups ranged from 3 people at the beginning of the Newport group to 15 people in the first Thurles agencies focus group. Details are given in each of the reports in the appendices. A high level of interest was shown in contributing to the research consultations. 29 North Tipperary Report on LDSIP Consultations – 2007 - 2008 Locations for the research consultations Interviews were held in local community centres, in a Community College in meeting rooms, in Nenagh Community Network and in Roscrea 2000. The Nenagh Community Network and Roscrea 2000 LDSIP Project Leader was the facilitator for all interviews. One of each partnership company manager and a representative from the Community and Enterprise Department of North Tipperary County Council attended the Thurles agencies‟ meetings. Details for each focus group and interview are contained in the individual reports in the appendices to this report. 30 North Tipperary Report on LDSIP Consultations – 2007 - 2008 4. References Area Development Management Ltd. (2000) „Local Development Social Inclusion Guidelines 2000 - 2006‟ Area Development Management Ltd. ADM, Dublin. County Development Board (2007), „North Tipperary Comhairle na nÓg – 2007‟. North Tipperary County Development Board. County Tipperary Information Service (2007), „Factsheet North Tipperary: Migrant Workers‟, County Tipperary Information Service. Hanafin, Sinéad. and members of the Thurles Recreation Youth Partnership (2005), „Report on the Recreational Needs of Young People in Thurles‟, Thurles Recreation Youth Partnership. Heenan, Niall (2004), Nenagh „Youth Needs Analysis‟, Nenagh Community Network and Foróige. Hogan, Elaine and Ní Charka, C. (2007) „Youth Needs Analysis 2006 – Newport, County Tipperary‟ – Summary Version, Nenagh Community Network. Hogan, Antje, Gilbertson, J., and Foxton, M. (2007), „The Information Needs of Migrant Workers in County Tipperary‟, County Tipperary Information Service. Murtagh & Partners (2006), Social and Economic Consultants, „Homeless Strategy and Action Plan (2007 – 2009)‟, North Tipperary Homeless Forum. NDP Gender Equality Unit, Department of Justice, Equality & Law Reform (2007), „The Labour Market Initiative for Lone Parents – Summary Findings and Recommendations‟. Department of Justice, Equality & Law Reform. Nenagh Town Council (2007), „‟Nenagh Development Plan, Nenagh Town Council. Nenagh Community Network (2007), „Traveller Development Plan 2007 –2010‟, Nenagh Community Network. New Futures – Leonardo da Vinci Project ((2007), „Building a Future for Rural Communities Through Lifelong Learning‟, St. Sheelan‟s College, Templemore. North Tipperary County Childcare Committee (2007), „Childcare Strategy for North Tipperary 2007 – 2010‟, North Tipperary County Childcare Committee. North Tipperary County Council (2004.), „North Tipperary County Development Plan 2004‟, North Tipperary County Council. Available from North Tipperary County Council Planning Department. North Tipperary County Development Board (2002), „North Tipperary Economic, Social and Cultural Strategy, 2002 – 2012‟, North Tipperary County Development Board. 31 North Tipperary Report on LDSIP Consultations – 2007 - 2008 North Tipperary Sports Partnership (2003), „North Tipperary Sports & Community Facilities Audit‟. North Tipperary Sports Partnership. North Tipperary Sports Partnership (2002), „North Tipperary Sports Partnership - Strategic Plan 2003 - 2006‟, North Tipperary Sports Partnership. North Tipperary Sports Partnership (2007),‟ North Tipperary Sports Partnership: Review and Action Plan 2007 – 2012‟, North Tipperary Sports Partnership. Social Inclusion Measures Group (2007), „Summary of measures arising from project funded under the NDP Gender Equality Unit‟s Lone Parent Initiative‟, North Tipperary County Council. Simpson, Keith & Associates (2006), „Cloughjordan Integrated Village Plan‟, North Tipperary County Development Board. Simpson, Keith & Associates (2005), „Littleton Integrated Village Plan‟, North Tipperary County Development Board. St Sheelan‟s College (2006.), „New Futures – Leonardo da Vinci Project - Creating Your Own Future‟, St. Sheelan‟s College, Templemore. Templemore Community Services (2007), „Planning for the Future‟, Templemore Community Services. Thurles Action for Community Development Ltd. (2007),‟Workplan for 2007-2010‟, TACD. Thurles Action for Community Development Ltd. (2007), „Links of Key Areas of Work with the CDB Strategic Plan‟, TACD. Thurles Town Council website (2007), Thurles 4 Estates, At www.thurlestc.ie Tipperary Regional Youth Services and North Tipperary County Development Board (2006) „Analysis of the Demographic Profile of Youth and Audit of Youth Services Provision: North Tipperary County Council Area‟, Tipperary Institute. 32 Appendix 1 - NCN Focus Group of Unemployed People NCN Focus Group of Unemployed People th 29 November, 2007 1. Introduction A focus group of unemployed people at Nenagh Community Network (NCN) looked at: 1. Local issues for people who have experienced unemployment, 2. Issues to be taken into account by Nenagh Community Network when planning for services for unemployed people in Nenagh and surrounding areas. The participants in the focus group have taken part in NCN Job Clubs. The Job Clubs are funded by FAS Employment Services for a 3 to 4 week period with the aim of preparing job ready participants to enter into or return to employment. A discussion also took place with the Jobs Club Co-ordinator. Background of Focus Group Participants Eight people took part in the focus group. They have had individual experiences of unemployment of between just under 3 months and 2 to 3 years. One participant has experienced intermittent unemployment over a period of about 5 years. One was currently employed following participation in the Jobs Club. Three participants were female, while five were male. Participants ranged in age from 18 to early 50s. Participants live in Nenagh and in surrounding rural areas. Issues raised in the NCN Focus Group Interview The majority of participants pointed to experiencing unemployment as leading to loss of confidence. This was expressed regardless of the length of time of unemployment. This is shown in the following quote from a person who has been unemployed for less than 3 months. “It gets harder and harder, so, you‟ve got to keep motivated. You‟ve got to be determined to find work. Cause the longer it goes on, the more it starts to put you down. So, just keep positive… You do lose confidence.” A majority of participants also pointed to “soul destroying” experiences of the welfare system. Examples of poor experiences included: Community Welfare service available for only 2 hours weekly, No Community Welfare service available in financial emergencies, Lack of information on entitlements from Community Welfare and Social Welfare Services, Long queues for Department of Social, Community & Family Affairs signing and information services, Lack of privacy in the Department of Social, Community & Family Affairs Offices, Being “docked” when additional money eg. Maintenance payments received, €6.00 weekly fuel allowance not enough to buy a bag of coal for a family, 33 Appendix 1 - NCN Focus Group of Unemployed People “Red tape” when looking for allowances and supplements including having to provide forms and letters which take weeks to process due to the limited opening times of the Community Welfare Service, Jobs Club Participation Most of the participants feel extremely positive about their experience of the Jobs Club. It is seen as a positive support to their finding employment. One participant points to his participation in the Jobs Club as resulting in finding employment. Participants were asked to identify what they would add to the Jobs Club and other support services in order to enhance effectiveness and the supports to them in finding employment. The following are the points highlighted by participants. 1. Jobs Club staff are too pushed for time. “I think that, the only thing that the Jobs Club needs is a bit more funding possibly… Just to help people more realistically, sending off stuff for me…, I feel sometimes, they are pushed for time, for effort, for everything. And, if they had a bit more funding, they probably can get that extra person, just to give a bit more help to the community…“. Participants agreed that while they use the Jobs Club facilities and do have access to staff, they need access to more staff hours and personal supports if they are to succeed in finding suitable employment. 2. Participants feel that it will be useful for the FAS jobs notices to be very regularly updated as jobs are often filled by the time the job seeker finds out about them. 3. Participants feel that it will be useful for the FAS registration system to be enhanced. 4. The main problem in finding jobs is lack of information. There is a need for a dedicated and personalised service – helping people to find jobs suited to the skills and interests which the job seeker has identified in interviews with the jobs seeking services. 5. Newspapers are felt to be a good source of employment openings. However, participants feel that they are “…Socially excluded if not able to read and write…” 6. Need for free newspapers to be available to people holding a social welfare card. Eg. from shops at the end of trading. 7. There is an expectation by employers and service providers that you will respond to job advertisements through e-mail and internet. Many participants do not have easy access to internet. Some participants highlight a need for local internet services eg. In local and rural Post Offices, local community resource centres as well as in NCN. 8. Participants who live in rural areas expressed an interest in an outreach Jobs Club service. 34 Appendix 1 - NCN Focus Group of Unemployed People 9. Participants feel that they need access to both group (especially useful for information generating and sharing) and one to one supports for the Jobs Club. The following quote illustrates the need for both group and one to one supports. “Group work is better at putting ideas together, but when it comes down to the „nitty gritty‟ it‟s one to one.” All participants felt that there is not enough one to one support available in the Jobs Club. 10. At least one participant in the group spoke about wanting to return to school to learn literacy skills. 11. One participant expressed a preference for the Jobs Club to be available for 5 days weekly rather than the current 2-3 days weekly. 12. One participant would like a lot more time for practical work eg. mock interviews, role play, live interviews and feedback in the Jobs Club. 13. Some participants felt that there is a need for a larger resource room with access to phones and computers for job preparation and seeking. Discussion with Jobs Club Co-ordinator A discussion with the Jobs Club Co-ordinator indicated that referrals to the service are at 25 people weekly. This is a high number of referrals and it is likely that many of these referrals will need supports towards finding employment. The needs identified by the Jobs Club Co-ordinator parallel many of those identified by the focus group participants and are as follows: Need for general information giving and sharing, Need for confidence building on an individual basis prior to progressing to group work Need for mediation and consulting on an individual basis Need for one to one work in identifying needs, carrying out individual planning and progression tracking and feedback Many people are not ready for group work and need one to one work before taking part in group work. Group work needs to be followed by individual one to one work to follow through on individual planning, progression and to identify and provide for the range of individual support needs for moving into employment. 3 to 4 weeks of Jobs Club participation is not sufficient for the majority of job seekers. Continuous support is needed by participants until they have reached their identified goals. Many Jobs Club participants need to receive supports to develop their literacy skills. Need for on-going support to Jobs Club participants when they progress to other activities including work. 35 Appendix 1 - NCN Focus Group of Unemployed People Recommendations The interview highlighted the vulnerability of being unemployed and “outside” the system. Many of the participants feel that the system needs to have “more transparency, more accessibility and more availability.”. There is a sense of loss of economic and personal control by the focus group participants in their lives through their experiences of the welfare system and of being unemployed. There is unanimous recognition among the focus group participants of the need to extend the support service to people who wish to go into employment. Issues of confidence building and personal planning and supports need to be addressed as an integral part of returning to or entering into employment. Social Welfare and Community Welfare services Social Welfare and Community Welfare services need to address issues of privacy, accessibility, availability and access identified by the participants, Social Welfare and Community Welfare services need to be aware of issues affecting clients‟ confidence and sense of well being, Employment Services Employment services need to address problems of loss of confidence and provide or arrange referral to a range of relevant supports, Employment supports need to be delivered over a longer term period in order to address vulnerability, low levels of educational attainment and to support progression through individual plans and goals Employment supports may need to be delivered on an ongoing basis including the transition into employment, Services such as the Jobs Club will require more staff and service hours to meet the identified needs of unemployed people, FAS Jobs Notices and registration system needs to provide updated jobs information and notification, Develop a dedicated and personalised service to job seekers through eg. An extended Jobs Club service, LES type service or Supported Employment Service, Local community resource centres, libraries, Post Offices, etc. needed to provide to newspaper, internet and information access to job seekers and the wider community, Need to develop a Jobs Preparation service that provides both group work and one to one work to participants in order to develop individual based planning, and preparation for further stages of looking for and obtaining employment, Need for recognition of role of the Jobs Club in supporting participants to pursue goals such as education and personal development as well as employment. Research and report by: Nora Walls LDSIP Project Leader Roscrea 2000 and Nenagh Community Network 36 Appendix 2 - Roscrea 2000 Focus Group - People with Experience of Unemployment Roscrea 2000 focus group interview with people who have experience of unemployment th 7 December, 2007 Summary of the main themes from the interview Experiences of being unemployed Need for a local Drop-in/ Resource Centre with a range of services. Services to address issues of unemployment and career development Deciding Your Future course design and consultation Issues for FÁS CE employment Roscrea as an employment “blackspot” Transport and costs Need for interagency approach to providing employment and training supports Need for services‟ staff to be aware of how people experience unemployment Links between unemployment and health Social discrimination There is a sense of frustration among some participants in the group at the lack of employment opportunities to suit their interests and career aspirations in the Roscrea area. There is also a feeling that state enterprise development, employment and welfare services are not addressing the issue of a depressed employment market in the Roscrea area. The greatest need was felt to be for a local service with help, and “…everything you want…”, lists of available jobs and “… people there to talk to you and you don‟t get frowned on”. Introduction A focus group of people who were unemployed, on FÁS Community Employment, Deciding Your Future and Time on Your Hands courses at Roscrea 2000 Resource Centre aimed to identify: 3. Local issues for people who have experience of unemployment, 4. Issues to be taken into account by Roscrea 2000 when planning services for unemployed people in Roscrea and the surrounding areas. 5. Issues that can be addressed through interagency work. Focus Group Participants Eleven people (6 female, 5 male) who were currently taking part in Community Employment or training courses at Roscrea 2000 took part in the focus group. Participants‟ ages ranged from 18 to 58 years. Participants are living in Roscrea and in outlying rural areas. Some had long-term experience of being unemployed while others had recently become unemployed. A small number had little formal experience of employment. Participants‟ experience ranged across the agricultural, services and manufacturing sectors. 37 Appendix 2 - Roscrea 2000 Focus Group - People with Experience of Unemployment A Resource Tutor and the Time On Your Hands programme Co-ordinator also attended - to provide support and to learn about participants‟ issues. Those who had experience of employment and/or were attending career development courses were more likely than those on pre-development courses to speak in the focus group discussion. To ensure that the report was an accurate record of participants‟ experiences and views, the interviewer met the Deciding Your Future and pre-development groups separately at a later stage to provide feedback on the draft report. This feedback is included here. Distance from centres of employment Roscrea town is 20 miles from each of the main North Tipperary urban centres of Thurles and Nenagh. It is 40 miles from Athlone, 25 miles from Portlaoise, 11 miles from Birr and 45 miles from the major employment centre of Limerick city. Unemployment in Roscrea The Central Statistics Office recorded a total of 536 people on the Roscrea “Live Register” at 57 the end of February 2008 . This is a high number of unemployed persons and compares with a figure of 470 people at the end of February 2007. Findings and themes from the Roscrea 2000 Focus Group The main issues of concern for participants were: Experiences of being unemployed include personal, social and cultural experiences, difficulties with welfare and employment services and financial difficulties Participants feel that they are under pressure including social stigma. “Socially, it‟s not seen as acceptable not to be working. They will look down on you.” Lack of finance, feeling you‟re in a black hole, poor attitude of social welfare staff. One person spoke of the unfairness of people “being hounded” by social welfare staff to take up employment despite lack of local employment and no suitable transport. Need for a Drop-in/ Resource Centre where people can access a range of services. Providing a range of employment, information, social supports and services, a place to get help with job seeking and self-employment, have someone to talk to (a counsellor or other person), to chat, seek advice, to link with FÁS and social welfare services, with employers and to have a cup of tea, etc. A drop-in centre should be a non-stigmatising, non-judgemental place where there‟s no stigma of being a “loser”. It should be in a public place and open to everyone. “Somewhere that you would want to go…”. Services to address issues of unemployment and career development The group agreed that people need to feel supported and to have someone within services to talk to when unemployed 57 This figure includes people who work part-time (those who work up to 3 days weekly) and seasonal and casual workers entitled to Unemployment Assistance and Unemployment Benefit payments. Data source: www.cso.ie 38 Appendix 2 - Roscrea 2000 Focus Group - People with Experience of Unemployment Employment and welfare services staff need to have understanding and experience of unemployment in order to support job-seekers effectively Ineffectiveness of the Employment System in supporting you to find employment or change career Need FÁS Employment Service in Roscrea on a minimum of 2 days weekly Jobs Club needs to provide ongoing supports towards finding and retaining employment rather than the current “useful” but short-term (3 weeks) training service Need for Employment Support Service providing: - aptitude and interest assessment - career guidance - career and personal counselling while job seeking and while in employment - individual and group work - employment preparation and training to enhance saleability on the jobs market - information on jobs, training and education, employment rights and entitlements, etc. - mediation (with employers, social welfare services, probation services, etc. - internet access – to keep up with the increase in internet based job advertising - service dedicated to addressing employment and support needs of people experiencing discrimination in the employment market - dedicated Start Your Own Business support and advice service Need for accredited on-job training was suggested and discussed by participants as an option to train for an existing job rather than training in a skill - e.g. welding in which there may be no openings Need for a mechanism to help people to get experience and system for recognising prior experience as employers are saying to experienced workers - who are seeking new types of employment “you have no experience of this work” Need to provide incentives and supports to employers and job seekers to support recruitment, successful integration and accredited training in the workplace. Deciding Your Future course design and consultation This course was felt by participants to be helpful. However, they felt there is a need for an Employment Support Service to be integrated into the course to support progression from the training and work experience to real employment. Participants felt that when their course and work experience is finished, “…that is their job done, we‟d be left to our own devices then, as regards seeking employment...”. Some participants liked the length of the work experience (5 weeks) while others felt this was too long and they would have liked a variety of work experiences. Issues for FÁS CE employment There is a need for a follow through service to support progression from all CE projects to real employment. One suggestion was for a scheme that will integrate people into “proper” employment with training on the job or externally. 39 Appendix 2 - Roscrea 2000 Focus Group - People with Experience of Unemployment One participant in the feedback group pointed out that they had gained all of their qualifications while on CE and another person felt that more training options are needed while on Community Employment Some participants felt there is a need for more variety of CE options eg. secretarial and information technology work One person felt that CE was positive as it paid more than the minimum wage and gave a routine, provided an interesting job and gave purpose to each day Some participants in the Deciding Your Future feedback group felt that agencies should employ staff at market rates of pay and conditions of employment rather than using CE staff to do the work. Roscrea as an employment “blackspot” The lack of employment opportunities is felt to be a major barrier to people finding employment in the Roscrea area. Many participants feel they have little chance of getting employment locally. There is a feeling for a number of participants of being cast aside as workers “…even though we have lots of skills and ability”. It is clear that participants want to work. Department of Social and Family Affairs are felt by some participants to favour training over and above employment creation There is a need for an analysis of why people have difficulty in finding employment and appropriate actions by employment and enterprise agencies and services Need for a locally based enterprise development and support service Transport and costs Employment openings outside Roscrea require significant travel expenses Lack of suitable urban or rural public transport routes and timetables is an issue for travel to work outside Roscrea. This makes it extremely difficult for most participants to take up employment outside of Roscrea. Many participants feel that Department of Social and Family Affairs staff expect them to take work at considerable distances from Roscrea. There appears to be no recognition of the transport barriers involved. Need for interagency approach to providing employment and training supports Participants felt that had they been told before starting the Deciding Your Future course about delayed training allowance payments they could have made personal financial arrangements and avoided distress e.g. through delaying bill payments. This was an important welfare information issue for many participants To ensure that programmes and services with an employment focus are designed with support, information, assessment, advice, follow-up and personal finance elements in place for participants. 40 Appendix 2 - Roscrea 2000 Focus Group - People with Experience of Unemployment Need for social welfare services’ staff to be aware of how people experience unemployment Staff in social welfare services are felt to have limited knowledge of the negative effects of unemployment and low income including: social stigma, loss of self- confidence, depression, etc. A common issue for many participants was a feeling that their unemployment situation was not understood and not treated with respect by state welfare services. Links between unemployment and health Participants agreed that being in employment affected confidence and health. On the other hand, they agreed that difficulties of being unemployed were added to by lack of employment opportunities and outcomes, lack of support from social welfare and employment services and lack of job creation by state agencies. Discrimination by employers A number of participants felt that there was discrimination by employers because of issues including: ‟ family background, “trouble with the law” and age of the job seeker. Research and report by Nora Walls LDSIP Project Leader Roscrea 2000 and Nenagh Community Network 41 Appendix 3 – Focus Group with NCN Women‟s Groups Focus Group Interview with members of NCN Women’s Groups th 14 January, 2008 Summary of the main themes from the interview Many women participate in women‟s group activities for social reasons and to get out of the house Many women are disappointed that some courses are short eg. 6 week Jewellery Making course The women enjoy taking part in NCN organised activities and training. Taking part provides a social outlet as well as building confidence and personal development Importance of tutors getting to know individuals and never letting anybody struggle Women gain confidence through the learning and the support provided in NCN Women are willing to organise activities themselves through sharing responsibilities and tasks and with back-up from NCN staff Transport and safety at night is an issue for women who don‟t have private transport Discussion with NCN Manager following the NCN women’s group interview In a discussion following the NCN women‟s groups interview the NCN Manager made the following points concerning funding for training courses. NCN run a number of programmes including the Back to Education Initiative (BTEI) and the Traveller Development Programme. The time of year when the most interest is shown in training is from January through to Spring. Timing of allocations for programme funding is particularly disappointing. In some instances, annual allocation is not made until March. This has implications for retention of tutors as the organisation cannot commit to putting on courses. Courses may be postponed, rushed or cancelled as a result. Introduction A focus group of women taking part in Nenagh Community Network (NCN) women’s groups and activities looked at: 1. Issues in women‟s experience and what needs to be addressed locally 2. Experiences of engaging in NCN activities 3. Experiences of the NCN support system 4. What sort of activities the women would most like to get involved in, in North Tipperary, Nenagh and NCN. The issues arising for women in the Nenagh area will also inform the development of Local Development Social Inclusion Programmes (LDSIP) for 2007 to 2013. 42 Appendix 3 – Focus Group with NCN Women‟s Groups The outcomes of the group interview and a summary of the main points was drawn up on a flip chart, agreed, typed up and sent to the NCN Co-ordinator to allow NCN to start the process of development and planning based on the group‟s feedback. Focus Group Participants Eight women took part in the focus group. They have taken part in courses and activities organised through NCN and are active in a number of groups within NCN. The women were at varying stages in their lives. Some were still engaged in parenting or grand parenting, some lived alone and all lived in Nenagh or in the surrounding area. Findings from the Focus Group Interview General issues The women reported that they love to come out to activities as a social outlet, a break and to get out of the house. Morning activities suit some while others prefer evening courses and activities The women appreciate the personal letter from NCN telling them about courses Preferred activities Dancing and activity sessions Some women would like more gentle dancing eg. Waltzing and others would like more energetic dancing eg Salsa dancing Some women find Line Dancing too stressful Enjoyed Health and Beauty course Women loved the activities and games held in the CBS Hall – but the venue is not great. Some were disappointed that attendance fell-off and sessions ended. Suggested changes to NCN Courses More sessions needed for jewellery courses. Art, Glass and John‟s Lane Computer course (need more than 2.5 hours) More hand crafts: eg. Rug Making, Art, Pottery, Flower arranging, Drama Quality and Quantity of NCN courses and activities Tutors are all considered to be good The NCN building is good and has good disability access The NCN training and activities room is good The women feel that courses run by NCN are inclusive The upstairs room in the Heritage Centre is not suitable for anyone with walking problems as getting up and down stairs is a challenge One person felt that the Jewellery tutor was “fantastic” as she came and checked with each participant how they were getting on Some people considered that there was an issue of organisation at the beginning of the jewellery course as there weren‟t enough beads to work with One person found formal testing very stressful eg. Jewellery Making theory test 43 Appendix 3 – Focus Group with NCN Women‟s Groups One person felt that the Self Development tutors provided a good model for tutoring: e.g. one tutor got to know each individual, never let anybody struggle and helped build everyone‟s confidence. Another Self Development tutor was very helpful through giving participants lists and information on where to go. Women were reported to have become very excited about this and many have gone to university, got qualifications and some now have a very good job. Communication about NCN activities Women heard about NCN through: The NCN staff member working in the housing estate Advert in the Nenagh Guardian Radio Word of mouth Ideas for courses and activities the women would like to do One woman would really like to do courses as she has been at home and out of the workforce for many years and doesn‟t know how to operate computers Nutrition – tutor to advise on – correct portion sizes, good/bad foods: fats and polyunsaturates, hidden sugars; food labelling, diabetes, ideal weights, dietary and exercise advice, self care, etc. Exercise eg. Yoga Self Development - Some participants in the focus group would like to do a Self Development course and to look at options for education and developing their interests, etc. One woman explained that: “For me, I would knock myself, I‟d think „Oh no, I couldn‟t do that‟. So, I probably would have to go the development route to find out… After the Personal Development course, I want to do a Return to Work course...” Interior Design Course (some would travel to Templemore if a group is travelling) The women enjoyed the Community Art course before Christmas – “The class was brilliant!”. However, they feel “…it starts off great” but people lose interest Colour Me Beautiful - e.g. as a participant organised treat at end of a course Some of the group are interested in Leadership and in Counselling training VEC courses if subsidised or with weekly payment option Swimming (for longer than 6 weeks) What the women feel they could do themselves The women explained that they normally leave organisation of courses: room and tutor booking, etc. to Bridget as she has the information. As one woman explained “When the money is there she‟d let us know.”. Some feel that they wouldn‟t know where to start to organise a course or activity. At this point, one woman spoke of her interest in doing assertiveness training with a view to improving her capacity to take on organising tasks. One participant reminded the group of a course for which they had shared tasks and 44 Appendix 3 – Focus Group with NCN Women‟s Groups responsibilities so that no one person was left with the job of organising everything. She reminded the group that they have enough skills to organise a group themselves. Individuals and the group are willing to work as a team to share out eg. the work of organising the Nutrition sessions. (eg. Through Health Promotion Unit of HSE). They would like to have NCN back – up to do this. What’s important for the participants Social aspect of the women‟s group and activities at NCN, getting out of the house, a break and “great enjoyment” Many of the women in the focus group feel that getting out, having a break is especially important for younger parents. The women also feel that it is these parents who need to be supported and encouraged to come to activities “Women should have a night out and to have … a bit of enjoyment and get away from the house, away from the children, have a break and you feel better when you go back” Learning - One woman explained that “When you leave school at an early age and you‟re not the brightest one in the class, it gives you the confidence to go back and do things..., I never thought I could do it. Because we never had a chance and we were too nervous… “ Classes give confidence and important skills are developed as this woman explains. “I‟m able to do maths now. I wasn‟t able to do them going to school or writing or reading or anything like that. Then some of these courses came up….I‟m able to add things up now and do budgeting, the whole lot…” Time for yourself Chilling out/ relaxing Finding out you‟re able to do things that “…I never knew I could” Great enjoyment There are no barriers to coming to the women‟ s group One person experienced a lot of support from staff and taking of responsibility by participants when she delivered a course in NCN. She feels that participants have a lot of organisational skills although they may be unaware of this One person pointed out that doing a course develops women‟s awareness of the range of skills they have “…Doing the course just brings that out and we realise we‟ve got all this. And that‟s half the fun of it…” Women find that advice from NCN on where to get grants and the right direction to go in is very useful 45 Appendix 3 – Focus Group with NCN Women‟s Groups Transport Women are willing to travel up to 20 miles to get to courses Some women would like to have transport to their door but are willing to take public transport between Nenagh and e.g. Limerick. Some women would like transport to the course venue in e.g. Limerick Barriers to personal development and to participation in community activities Lack of evening crèche facilities from 6:00 to 8:00pm is suggested as an issue for some people who may want to take part in activities/training in the evenings and before children go to bed. One participant was very nervous coming to NCN on her first night but found others supported her and made her feel very welcome – nervousness about coming into a new place may be a barrier for some people Transport – needed from venue to home due to safety issues Transport to Limerick/Templemore (eg. to get to evening and third level courses) High cost of VEC night classes even with VEC reduction Unavailability of grants to do other (VEC) courses Some women find working towards certification too stressful There seem to be “…many obstacles in my way.” to developing a Community Garden even though many people are interested in gardening Fighting with Council to keep the one playground for kids in Nenagh clean and to put in more equipment “The castle grounds are disgusting.” In a perfect world the following is a list of what individual women would like One woman would like to get a job One woman would like to work with children in Arts and Crafts One woman would like to own her own house, but can‟t afford it The women would like to have a group day out One woman would like to have a community garden for gardening and relaxation Conclusions The women have varying levels of confidence in their individual capacities to organise activities for themselves. It is clear that participation and self-development involved in taking part in the activities provide the women with social outlets and opportunities for personal and skills development. The women very much enjoy and benefit from these activities and the opportunities which they provide. NCN should continue to build in opportunities for personal development through the courses offered to women. Assertiveness and Personal Development training courses may be part of a useful approach to supporting the women to gain confidence and experience in organisation of events and activities. 46 Appendix 3 – Focus Group with NCN Women‟s Groups Lack of ongoing funding is the main reason given by the participants for leaving responsibility to NCN to organise events and for the women not taking a more active role themselves. This may effect progression by the women to greater independence and putting their skills into practice in the community. It may also be an issue in ensuring continuity of tutors to the programme. It is important that some funding be available to allow plans to be developed and carried out by the women. This may require additional funding to that already available to support the group. Research and report by: Nora Walls LDSIP Project Leader Roscrea 2000 and Nenagh Community Network 47 Appendix 4 - Meeting # 1 with Thurles social services agencies Note of preliminary meeting with Thurles social services agencies th 12 December, 2007 Summary of main issues identified Need for Social Support Services Needs for supports for the Elderly “Fragmentation of services” Disadvantage and isolation of the most vulnerable people Middle to older aged men Homelessness Inadequate accommodation Failure of the most vulnerable to access services Youth and families Childcare Unemployment Local economy and links with social inclusion Issues for the Gardaí Issues for Travellers Core to meeting the identified needs: 1. Funding for a Development Worker to apply for funding, to develop and deliver programmes and supports to vulnerable groups 2. Pre-development work with groups 3. Focus on 3 key projects 4. Interagency collaboration 5. Action not consultation Notes of the Meeting Present: Breada Ryan, Thurles Action for Community Development; Michael Ryan, Thurles Town Council; Bernie Gleeson, VTOS; Bernie Ryan, Youth Development Project; Olive Carter, Barnardos; Sr Cait Gannon, Social Services; Pat Nugent, Fas Employment Services; Brian Dowling, Tenant Liaison Office; Clr Michael Grogan, Mayor; Fr Martin Hayes, PP Thurles; Clr. John Kennedy, Chair, Area Committee Meetings; Madeleine McCool, Thurles Community Social Services; Tony Quinn, An Garda Siochana; Cora Horgan, Tipp Regional Youth Services (TRYS); Mick Ryan, St Vincent de Paul. Apologies: Aileen Healy, Co-ordinator, N. Tipp Childcare; Margaret Egan, Jobs Facilitator, DSFA; Martina Finn, A/Administrative Officer, North Tipperary County Council, Community & Enterprise Department; Mary Ryan, Community Welfare Office, HSE. In attendance: Sean Crowley, Manager, Nenagh Community Network, Nora Walls, Project Leader, Roscrea 2000 Limited & Nenagh Community Network. 48 Appendix 4 - Meeting # 1 with Thurles social services agencies A. Objectives of the meeting To provide information on the LDSIP and the “Cohesion” process- integration of NCN, Roscrea 2000 and Tipperary LEADER Group Limited into one new company – North Tipperary LEADER Partnership Limited. To identify local social issues and needs of LDSIP target groups To identify agencies/organisations to be consulted. To identify participants for target group consultations B. Information note on LDSIP and Cohesion - Distributed to all present at meeting (attached). C. Identification of social issues and needs in Thurles town area. Social Support Services MABS service too limited- need more hours/presence/personnel to meet advice needs due to large debt and money lending problem Need for interagency approach to debt/money lending Poverty/ Welfare issue – especially where a pensioner lives alone/becomes alone through bereavement Counselling for people with substance misuse problems is inadequately resourced. Service under pressure and needs to be developed. Many present were aware of the need, yet unaware of the existence of a substance misuse counselling service. Elderly Housing for elderly – need support for people not in council housing (contact, need for programmes that are focussed on elderly). Isolation and lack of knowledge of how to access services and entitlements to assistance through HSE. Transport not available for people living in the town - to get to town, to hospital appointments, etc. Active retirement group only meets needs of people who are active. “Appalling living circumstances” of some people. Some may have “paranoid” worldview via television and lack contact, need a sense of being valued through: providing services, providing them with a place where they feel valued and can contribute. They feel they have nothing to contribute as they are “old”. However, they have a “huge” contribution to make. “Fragmentation of services” There are services in Thurles but these are not working together/ are fragmented Many people are falling through the cracks of all the systems – eg not receiving meals on wheels 49 Appendix 4 - Meeting # 1 with Thurles social services agencies Need for community building and liaison between the agencies attending today‟s meeting of agencies Disadvantage and isolation of the most vulnerable people Isolation and lack of knowledge of how to access services are issues for those whose intellectual capacity to interact may be limited People who are over 60 and have long-term alcohol dependency Wish to remain as is. The biggest problem is to get people in rent arrears to engage with the council. Council dealing with anti-social behaviours. Council keeping harmony in the estates. Middle to older age men Project identified a huge need among this group and plan to meet with this group in 2008. Issues are: Poor accommodation, Mental health Sense of isolation Mistrust built up Lack of self confidence Long-term unemployment with some mental health issues Possible alcohol misuse, addictions ie gambling. “They‟ve been kindof left outside of the net…” Homelessness 5 people aged between 40 and 70 are homeless in Thurles and are sleeping outside. There is an issue concerning location for providing accommodation. Inadequate accommodation People who are vulnerable and isolated with possibility of development of suicidal tendencies These people are both council and non council tenants Private housing in poor condition This is a difficult issue that falls to the Council to deal with. Is there a model and process that has worked elsewhere to address neighbourhood issues of this nature? What structures are needed to enable the issue to progress? Lack of awareness of services and failure to access services Existing services include: CIC, Day Care Centre for elderly people (the majority come from outlying regions) “It‟s a pity that people from town aren‟t made aware of or coaxed to come to it.” 50 Appendix 4 - Meeting # 1 with Thurles social services agencies Roles of agencies - The HSE and models for effective services The HSE has a major role to play in meeting needs and in delivering services. Major role of Home Helps – needs to restructure so that one person is providing community based supports to several homes within an area. Packages for people leaving hospital – falls apart in practice. Need for someone to sit and talk with people for an hour eg. Someone in a similar role to that of the Traveller Family Support Outreach Worker with hands – on support and assistance. Youth and families People in families can be vulnerable (where not expected) –and young people looking for tea/toast from the youth service Don‟t know where to access supports and services. Need to address problem of the interface between services and the community TRYS are limited through funding in what can be done. TRYS targets supports to town centre and estates. There is a Foroige Schools Club in Thurles and a NO Name Club. Barnardos and TRYS are working together to improve access for young people to these services Young people - nothing to do and are down by the river in Summer months Childcare €200,000 funding shortfall for building new (€1.2 million) 50 place childcare facility at Tipperary Institute site. Problems due to Department of Education and & Science site ownership. Need to plan and get resources to meet the requirements of new childcare provisions There are huge issues around childcare. 50 places not sufficient to meet needs. Lack of childcare limits options for parents in or outside of target groups. Problems include: lone parents on programmes, affordability, work, childcare. In estates can predict those children under 5 yrs who will develop problems when older. Need staff who will engage with young people on the ground – this is very time consuming. No After Schools Programme as far as participants at the meeting are aware. There is no general „Breakfast Club‟ – there is a B‟fast Club in Gairm Scoil and Presentation Convent provide food in the evenings. There is a need for more Breakfast Clubs and After School Services. Unemployment issues Big need for a Jobs Club in Thurles Opportunities limited to retail with no local industry and few job options FAS CE schemes “…keep a lot of people ticking over.” 51 Appendix 4 - Meeting # 1 with Thurles social services agencies Even when someone goes as far as Limerick for training, there is no subsequent employment available in Thurles Thurles is close to a major national roads system, yet employment has not been developed in the area. Wages too high to attract Enterprise Ireland type high tech Industries Need for jobs for 200 – 300 people in Thurles Economics and Social Inclusion Thurles has to prioritise employment and a strong economy. This must be a focus in the „cohesion‟ process. Economy must be strengthened if community provision of services is to be able to develop. “Disgraceful Infrastructure” around Thurles Many low pay jobs are delivered by non-nationals Social inclusion will always be an issue while there is no money in Thurles Meeting held with Minister for Enterprise & Employment to get small industries into Thurles Shannon Development Co. and IDA Ireland are the relevant state agencies with responsibility for developing industry. Issues identified by Gardaí Anti-social behaviour Childcare services and After School Programmes would definitely reduce anti-social behaviour. Domestic Violence - The Ascend (Support service for women who experience domestic violence) service is viewed as an excellent inter-agency model with information sharing, etc. This type of structure is needed in Thurles. Issues for Travellers Accommodation There is a 6 unit group housing scheme in Cabra (outside Thurles) – the main issue for the people involved is access to town. Travellers want one off accommodation in the countryside Problems arise when Travellers accommodated in urban areas as they cannot settle in, in built up environments. It is not county Council policy not to provide one off rural accommodation for Travellers. County Council find it impossible to purchase countryside sites from landowners to build accommodation for Travellers Education Anti-social behaviours are a problem for second level education. Problems of vandalism and alcohol consumption at Premier Hall Other services to be invited to Thurles social services agencies LDSIP meetings School Liaison Officers – 2 in Thurles 52 Appendix 4 - Meeting # 1 with Thurles social services agencies Public Health Nurses for the Elderly Thurles Mental Health Services representative D. Conclusions There are a number of areas and target groups requiring attention and funding. Increased funding under the LDSIP may support a Development Officer in Thurles. Need to identify and focus on – 3 key projects for the town The meeting agreed the importance of an interagency approach to drive the projects forward and use resources effectively Main findings from today‟s meeting will be documented and incorporated into the new LDSIP plan. Participants consider that the LDSIP provides Thurles with a new opportunity to access programme funds New company needs to recognise Thurles agencies‟ inexperience in seeking and drawing down funding This meeting will gear agencies for seeking funding. A Development Officer is needed for this to happen Cora Horgan, TRYS is available to facilitate groups of young people Focus Group Interviews with LDSIP target groups Local people are felt to be tired of consultation. There is disillusionment where no delivery takes place. Delivery and not consultation is needed NOW. Delivery is crucial to the role of the Development Worker. Need for support to elderly persons to enable them to identify their own issues. This group need a representative to bring issues to the table. Models for delivery Local Area Network model works well in N Tipperary and is needed in Thurles. Work of new company should not duplicate TCAD work. Need for pre-development work with groups. Agencies need to collaborate to support pre-development of groups. Nora Walls LDSIP Project Leader, Roscrea 2000 and Nenagh Community Network 53 Appendix 5 - Meeting # 2 with Thurles social services agencies Note of second meeting with Thurles social services agencies th 29 January, 2008 Summary of main issues identified Decision of the agencies was to carry out a Community Audit prior to undertaking pre- development work with groups experiencing disadvantage High level of need among elderly and older single men needs to be addressed Agencies will work in partnership to prepare for roll out of LDSIP to the Thurles area th Group agreed to meet independently of the partnership companies on 7 April at TACD premises Some of the core issues in the process of identifying and meeting community needs: 6. Carrying out a community audit to identify needs across all relevant groups in the Thurles community 7. Pre-development work with groups 8. Criteria for LDSIP funding – needs identification across relevant groups, interagency approach, value for money Notes of the Meeting on 29th January, 2008 Present: Aileen Healy, Co-ordinator, N. Tipp Childcare; Breada Ryan, Thurles Action for Community Development; Brian Dowling, Tenant Liaison Office, Thurles Town Council; Clr. John Kennedy, Chair, Area Committee Meetings; Cora Horgan, Tipp Regional Youth Services (TRYS); Pat Nugent, FAS Employment Services; Fr Gerry Hennessy, Thurles Parish; Mairéad Wade, PHN, HSE Services to the Elderly; Máire Wixted, Home School Liaison, Thurles Vocational School; Myles Macken, St Vincent de Paul; Sr Ursula, Home School Liaison, Presentation Primary School; Tony Quinn, An Garda Siochana; Margaret Egan, DSFA . Apologies: Mary Ryan, Community Welfare Office, HSE; Michael Ryan, Thurles Town Council; Olive Carter, Barnardos; Sr Cait Gannon, Thurles Social Services. In attendance: Martina Finn, A/Administrative Officer, North Tipperary County Council, Community & Enterprise Department; Michael Murray, Manager, Roscrea 2000 Ltd.; Nora Walls, LDSIP Project Leader, Roscrea 2000 Limited and Nenagh Community Network. 54 Appendix 5 - Meeting # 2 with Thurles social services agencies th A. Minutes of meeting on 12 December Amendments – In attendance: Seán Crowley, NCN, Nora Walls, Roscrea 2000/NCN. Minutes were then read and agreed as accurate. B. Objectives of today’s meeting called by Roscrea 2000/NCN: 1. To identify additional issues and needs in Thurles especially from agencies not represented th at meeting on 12 December, 2007 2. To look at which groups to be consulted so as to identify needs and issues under LDSIP consultation and for N. Tipp planning 3. To decide on follow on from today‟s meeting. C. Information note on LDSIP and Cohesion - Distributed to all not present at last meeting. D. The electronic recording of the meeting was agreed to by those present. The recording will be destroyed when the record is written up and confidentiality will be maintained. E. Additional information from agencies (i) Gardaí 50 places recognised as inadequate for Thurles community The facility is for use by the community (Thurles and surrounding areas) Substance abuse is a problem in any place where groups of young people gather together (ii) Childcare facility Aileen Healy, Co-ordinator, N. Tipp Childcare reported that : Thurles feasibility study carried out in 1999. The numbers of places planned was based on this study (identified need for 120 place facility) and on the Capital grant available at that time (max €1 million, now raised to €1.2 million) Need to fill gap in childcare service to parents returning to work, to education, needing respite care €1.2 million has been secured from office of the Minister for Health and Children A decision from the Minister on additional funding is awaited Issues on site ownership have been resolved through TI Management Number of places is 50 (catering for up to 70 children with part-time, sessional places, etc.) as determined by capital granted Sustainability balance to be achieved through subvention for parents with low income and through commercial sector fees Subvention criteria not yet clear Places reserved for children of low income families Inter-agency approach similar to NCN, Chapelmore and Roscrea 2000 childcare facilities Support needed to drive the project forward Operation of facility – business plan awaits funding, grant aid can be accessed 55 Appendix 5 - Meeting # 2 with Thurles social services agencies Business plan depends on a range of issues coming together (iii) Care packages for people leaving hospital Mairéad Wade, HSE Services to the Elderly reported that the two main reasons for breakdown in care packages (as referred to in meeting of 12th December, 2007) are : Embargo on recruitment and lack of funding. Thurles area services gaps include: No Occupational Therapist (O.T.) for 6-8 months in Thurles Very long waiting list for new O.T. Public Health Nurses (PHN) ) were trying to fill that gap Essential equipment for people at home and needing equipment for independent living no longer top priority and now priority 3 Aids and Appliances service moved to Nenagh and equipment is therefore no longer available in Thurles on an urgent cases basis Long waiting list for Podiatrist No Chiropodist No Social Worker for the Elderly Home Care Packages- Home Subvention –No 2008 budget allocated yet and hours can be allocated only on a patient ceasing to need supports. Extra hours can be contracted above Home Help hours on needs rather than means basis. Community Hospital of the Assumption No O.T. No Speech and Language Therapist for people who have had a stroke There are many implications of these health services gaps for people in the community. E.g. people awaiting walking aids as unable to walk are having to stay in bed. E. Items Discussed Needs of elderly people The adequacy of facilities for elderly was queried and discussed People are coming in to Day Care facility on 2 days but want to attend on 5 days weekly Lack of contact with elderly not living in local authority housing Many elderly people do not welcome interference including PHN visits - issues of pride, privacy and poor living conditions Some people maintain their house well after help is given to tidy up Need to monitor who the elderly are in Thurles – those not in Local Authority housing Some elderly people (especially those in private accommodation) don‟t see anybody for 2-3 weeks and some have no family May need PHN services but not on register unless holding a medical card (over 70 years) Tenant Liaison Officer is aware of some but not all cases of hardship eg. Lack of adequate heating in Winter 56 Appendix 5 - Meeting # 2 with Thurles social services agencies Hardship really needs to be addressed A position of Elderly Support Co-ordinator is needed to liaise between elderly people and agencies St Vincent de Paul are now doing more visits to homes and find that people are happy to receive visits Focus Group Research with Elderly people It would be possible for agency staff to identify elderly people to take part in focus group research. However, there is no one person/agency in a position to do this. One person feels that elderly people would not participate in focus group research. The meeting decided that it is not appropriate to carry out focus group research on needs and issues for elderly persons in the town. There needs to be a capacity to respond to needs and issues expressed by a group before carrying out focus group research. One person feels that a focus group interview would bring individual medical rather than collective needs to the fore. Purpose of focus group method of research Nora explained that the purpose of the focus group with elderly people would be to focus on their common “social” needs and issues and on the requirements to enable people to live as they wish. E.g. transport, etc. There were queries about what pre-development work is needed before bringing people together to identify their needs. One person felt that an attempt to bring elderly people into a focus group would not bring in those most in need. LDSIP requirements Michael Murray outlined that the new North Tipperary Leader Partnership Company and board are planned to be in place by mid-March 2008. A social and economic plan is planned for early 2009 by the new company. This plan will be stronger if direct consultation takes place with the target groups. Statistical data will be prepared based on Central Statistics Office data. This data will also form the basis for further work. The GAMMA breakdown of statistical data will provide data for each group of 75 houses. This data will be complemented through data based on consultation with agencies and on focus group research. Criteria for LDSIP funding include: work based on assessed needs interagency approach value for money agencies signing up to deliver on areas of work within their capacities. 57 Appendix 5 - Meeting # 2 with Thurles social services agencies Funding can support initiation of projects with e.g. elderly and bringing agencies together in order to build a picture of the sector and to build relationships. Thurles town needs to be looked at as a whole. Roscrea 2000 plans to carry out a community audit in Roscrea in order to form a picture of Roscrea‟s needs. It will be possible for Thurles to carry out an audit of needs if this is decided by the agencies around the table. G. Decision to Carry out Needs Audit in Thurles The meeting agreed that the organisations work together to carry out a Needs Audit of elderly and broader social groups experiencing social exclusion in the town. It was agreed that it is not appropriate to carry out focus groups with only a narrow range of groups such as unemployed and elderly. No audit is known to have been carried out in the last 5 years. The Tenant Liaison Officer has data on elderly persons within his remit (Local Authority housing) only. Thurles Social Services also have a large database of elderly people in Thurles. Following further discussion, the meeting decided to carry out an audit of needs of other groups including elderly single men and their quality of life in rural Ireland today. This was in the context of elderly men as having the second highest rate of suicide in Ireland with issues of isolation, depression and suicide. These men will not attend meetings and there is a need for agencies to go out to them and to meet them through local communities, development groups and through eg. a social afternoon event. However, no indication has yet been given by Pobal of LDSIP funding for extra work such as a Community Audit in areas to which the LDSIP is to expand. A request was put forward to prioritise Thurles for an audit as it has not yet received LDSIP funding. It was confirmed that Thurles is recognised as an area for LDSIP extension and as an electoral area without an LDSIP history. Michael Murray confirmed that a template for carrying out a community audit will be developed. There were a number of queries around the steps towards carrying out an audit- who would carry it out? It was clarified that Roscrea 2000 and NCN are not in a position to provide development support at present as current funding is for consultation and awareness raising only. Definition of elderly used by the HSE and by Thurles Town Council: HSE - 65 + Town Council – 60 + 58 Appendix 5 - Meeting # 2 with Thurles social services agencies Integrated Agency Approach Martina Finn, Community and Enterprise Department , North Tipperary County Council spoke about the Integrated Agency Approach through which the County Council C & E Department is supporting social inclusion work locally. This involves setting up partnerships to tackle social issues. A suggestion was made for: 1. Local agencies to meet again to look at working in partnership to prepare for working towards LDSIP roll-out in the Thurles area. 2. Carrying out a community audit across all relevant LDSIP groups – ie. Elderly, unemployed, youth, local authority residents, etc. to prepare for LDSIP Action Planning. H. Decisions for follow – on from today’s meeting No further meeting planned with Thurles agencies by NCN and Roscrea 2000 Cora Horgan, TRYS undertook to contact representatives of all agencies present at today‟s meeting re date for next agencies meeting to prepare for roll out of LDSIP to Thurles area Nora Walls to send Cora contact details for agencies attending the meetings to date. Details of next meeting The agencies agreed to meet independently of the partnership companies at 2:00pm on th Monday 7 April at Thurles Action for Community Development (TACD) premises on Kickham Street. Nora Walls, LDSIP Project Leader Roscrea 2000 and Nenagh Community Network 59 Appendix 6 – Rural Social Scheme Focus Group Report of Focus Group with Rural Social Scheme Smallholders th 24 Jan 2008 Summary Farmers need off farm employment to keep going. The RSS answers the need for secure income and being able to live from part-time farming Need for access to training while on Rural Social Scheme Need for supports to farmers on the Rural Social Scheme (RSS) including access to career assessment and advice, training and information on courses and subsidies Need for low cost or free services (similar to supports available in Income tax offices) to support farmers preparing returns for Department of Agriculture & Tourism Need for security of RSS as it provides small farmers with their only secure source of income when unable to make a sustainable living from full-time farming Need for Rural Transport System (RTI) to be developed to provide transport to people living in isolation eg. to shops and pub at weekends. The service could be run under the RSS. 1. Introduction Rural Social Scheme (RSS) participants from one of the two North Tipperary RSS projects were asked to take part in a focus group interview to look at: Local issues for small farmers and what issues need to be addressed Experiences of living in North Tipperary as a Smallholder The interview focussed on the needs and issues for people who have been farming and living in rural areas and may need to earn additional off farm income. The Interviewer also spoke with the local Supervisor of the scheme. The report will inform the work of the new North Tipperary LEADER Partnership Company and the extension of Local Development Social Inclusion Programme (LDSIP) throughout North Tipperary. 2. Method Nine RSS participants took part in the focus group interview at Roscrea 2000. Four participants were female and five were male. The interview was recorded electronically with the group‟s permission. 3. Findings Operation of the RSS – A major concern with the RSS is that there is no security and people have a one year contract with no idea of whether they will be allowed a further year on the scheme. 60 Appendix 6 – Rural Social Scheme Focus Group – Another concern is that small farmers awaiting RSS places have no idea when or if they will get a place on the scheme. Farm income and costs of living – In the last 15 years it is not possible to maintain a minimum standard of living on a small farm even though farming involves working a 12 hour day, seven days weekly – The participants consider that a farmer needs a minimum of 100 acres to survive in full- time farming – Planning and other regulations prevent expansion and the increasing of farm income Off farm employment Rural Social Scheme – All participants agree that RSS employment makes a difference financially. “If you‟re not making money from the farm, that‟s where the rural Social Scheme comes in.” – The RSS provides essential regular income not provided by farming – All participants agree that RSS employment makes a difference socially as you meet people. “At home you‟d see nobody….There‟s nobody at home in any houses.” – The scheme meets the small farmer‟s need to be able to return to the farm if an urgent matter arises e.g. a sick animal, calving or for a farm inspection, herd test, etc. – The scheme meets the small farmer‟s need to be able to work outside the farm and home while continuing to run the family farm – Because of the need to be near the farm, a factory job would not be considered by most participants “I have dairy cows. And I have to milk them morning and evening. The job I‟m in, I don‟t have to be there „til ten o‟clock and I‟m finished then half three, four o‟clock. So, it suits me down to the ground.” – RSS gives better financial security than Farm Assist payments – Participants emphasise that the RSS provides social opportunities and a chance to learn something new from other people each day. As one person explained … “You‟re not stuck at home on a farm and seeing no one for 2 or 3 months at a time. You‟re getting out, for your nineteen and a half hours. You‟re having a chat with this lad and that lad and it breaks the day…You come back home then and you‟re happier… You‟re happier mentally…” – Being on the RSS means having access to more information than when at home all day – The RSS is an opportunity to do “…something good for your area. It works both ways.” – Participants feel that they are trusted to do their work “You just go and do it and if the boss comes, you‟re still doing it.” – The RSS allows flexibility to do the required work in flexible hours – Progression options are needed from RSS e.g. to self-employment 61 Appendix 6 – Rural Social Scheme Focus Group Bureaucracy – In the group‟s experience, there is a huge amount of „red tape‟ involved in trying to expand, to rent other land etc., that works against the development of small farming – Bureaucratic demands prevent small farmers from developing economically and there are a range of social impacts as a result. – Social impacts include: having to leave one‟s farming role in order to get employment, poor income levels, not being able to plan ahead because of financial uncertainty – Welfare services do not appear to understand the economics of farming and self employment e.g. that a farmer may have cattle but no means is poorly understood – Medical card entitlements are too strict ie. There is a means test where farm size is as small as 25 – 30 acres. The Medical card is withdrawn for most RSS participants – Too many limits to letting out land eg. cannot rent out land if on RSS and lessee must hold a Green Cert Support services to small farmers – Agricultural advice is costly and only worthwhile where the Agricultural Advisor is good. – There is a need for free of charge services to advise and support farmers e.g. assistance with farm book-keeping similar to Income Tax Office support and advice to tax payers – Advice from Department of Agriculture staff on form filling should be formally available from staff with good knowledge of farm record forms and reporting requirements – Participants report they receive no supports from state or voluntary rural and farm organisations – Need for supports to examine alternative enterprise projects such as wind power Career development – Need for occupational assessment and advice for farmers – Need for courses to look at options in the event of farming failing to provide a basic living in the longer-term e.g. Agricultural Contracting and self-employment – Need for access by farmers to Back to Work Allowance and Back to Work Enterprise Allowance with the continuing decline in farming Educational levels – One participant pointed out that it is a misconception that farming does not require educational qualifications. This participant stayed in school and is now the bookkeeper on her family farm. Training needs and opportunities – Participants are interested in any part-time training that is relevant to farming, to improving the farm and to broadening their opportunities – The RSS does not include training and development as far as the participants are aware. As one participant explained: “If you want to improve yourself, it‟s not good because…unless you go off this scheme, you don‟t know what you‟re going to do…” 62 Appendix 6 – Rural Social Scheme Focus Group – A participant applied for a course with FÁS and was told following 18 months they were not eligible because of being on RSS. They were told to reapply when the RSS stopped. The door needs to be open so that people can develop a training and career plan without such obstacles to development – Many participants would like part-time training related to farm work e.g. book keeping for the Department of Agriculture (farm Payment, REPS, etc.) reporting requirements, computer literacy and software packages for farming eg. Kingswood Computer Package for farm animal registration, etc. – Would like to have access to training as available to people on FÁS CE schemes – Participants report that Teagasc and farming organisations do not provide courses that are relevant to them – Participants would like to have the opportunity to do night courses or day courses as part of their RSS participation similar to opportunities available to people on FÁS CE schemes – A participant would like the opportunity to do training in block laying or bus driving – Need for free assessment of learning needs e.g. for adults who may have dyslexia or poor experiences of school – Need regular newspaper advertisements for literacy tuition (similar to regular Cinema advertising) to let people know „Tutor available, one to one‟ because people don‟t know it‟s there Issues for farmers – Difficulty in moving to employment following a lifetime in farming – Remaining on farm is viewed as more secure than changing into employment – Farmers fears being unable to transfer farm management skills to employment – Community Alert appears to have stopped in rural areas although it helped in rural areas especially for elderly people who became ill, etc. Social Issues – The main benefits of RSS include having a chat and meeting people whereas some participants report they would see nobody for days or weeks if on the farm full-time – ICA is finding it difficult to keep active. This effects rural areas where only older women are free to take part as younger women are at work by day and don‟t go out at night – Pub is no longer a social outlet and taxis won‟t operate in rural areas. Some pubs only open at night or at weekends – Most participants do not have access to the Rural transport Initiative except from Lorrha to Nenagh on Fridays – Need to extend the RTI to cover more rural areas and weekends – Need for rural transport system to be developed to provide transport to people living in isolation eg. to bring people to shops and pub at weekends. The service could be run under the RSS. – There is no HSE assistance with transport to elderly people in rural areas who have to attend hospital appointments 63 Appendix 6 – Rural Social Scheme Focus Group – Need for social events for Senior Citizens eg. coffee mornings, evening events, etc. – Few or no local village shops – Insecurity of living in rural areas – Feel intimidated by young people “hanging around” the village school in the evenings – Need for youth facilities and activities in rural villages – Need for halls in rural areas and for existing halls to be made more user friendly Information Needs – Participants have very limited information on grants and subsidies for training and education. For example, participants are not aware of subsidies for VEC night classes. Report written by: Nora Walls LDSIP Project Leader Roscrea 2000and Nenagh Community Network 64 Appendix 7 – BAND Outgoing Board and Staff Report of Focus Group with Outgoing Members of the Board of BAND and Interviews with Outgoing Members of Staff January and February, 2008 Summary The main projects that board and staff members consider should be provided are: After-Schools and Homework groups Youth services including Youth Clubs Extended/ full-time childcare facilities Parenting programmes in all areas Social, personal and skill development training for men‟s and women‟s groups Social and transport supports to people living in rural isolation Services to Senior Citizens Activities and facilities for all age groups A Community Resource Centre in Borrisokane Employment Support services Essential for meeting the needs of the catchment area. A Development Worker and Youth Worker presence is essential in the area along with an office from which staff are based and which the community can visit and use. Where groups are encouraged to be independent from the beginning, they are more likely to survive independently. Good communication with all sectors of the community through word of mouth, sitting down with groups and calling door to door. 4. Introduction BAND operated as a rural based Community Partnership company in part of North Western North Tipperary until the company closed in January, 2007. The catchment area extended from Ardcroney in the North to Carrigahorig in the South and from Offaly/Ballingarry in the East to Kilbarron, Terryglass and the river Shannon in the West. A new company, North Tipperary LEADER Partnership Company Ltd. will deliver both the National Rural Development Programme and the Local Development Social Inclusion Programme (LDSIP) throughout North Tipperary from 2008. Funding will be under the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs through Pobal. Reason for the consultations The purpose of consultation with outgoing members of the board and staff of BAND was to : 1. Identify projects that were working well under BAND and should be restarted or continued 5. Identify priority needs in the area for future LDSIP work 6. Identify target groups for consultation on issues and needs in the catchment area. 65 Appendix 7 – BAND Outgoing Board and Staff 2. Methods Focus Group Interview with Outgoing Board Members The interviewer spoke by phone with the outgoing Chairman of BAND and a agreed a date for the group to meet. The interviewer wrote to interested outgoing board members to invite them to take part in a focus group interview. Four people contributed to the focus group including the Chairman and committee members. Two outgoing board members spoke to the interviewer by phone and outlined what they felt was working well under BAND and what they consider to be the main needs within the catchment area. Individual Interviews with Outgoing Staff Members A telephone interview was held with the outgoing Manager of BAND. One to one interviews were held with the outgoing Development Worker and Youth Worker. Findings from the focus group and individual interviews are combined so as to focus on the issues raised and for reasons of confidentiality. Where all those interviewed raised similar points (for example: the need for a Development Worker presence in the area and for a local community based office and resource) this is pointed out in the report. 3. Findings Need for a Development Worker presence an office and local structures in the area All of those interviewed emphasised the need for development staff to be based in the area that was served by BAND and an office to which the community have access. One outgoing staff member explained that: “I think it helps that they feel that there‟s somebody there... I feel that they have to have a door open, somewhere there that they can go in, that they feel that it‟s their own place. Not that it‟s Nenagh Community Network, Roscrea working for them.... Community need to know they are cared about and have someone available to them to speak to.„‟ – Board members state the need for a structure „on the ground‟ and the need to develop the area which is in declining or static in contrast to areas such as Nenagh. – Board members feel that a Development Worker and Youth Worker are essential to work with youth and adults in the area. The Rural Transport Initiative The board members emphasised the value to the area of the RTI in meeting transport needs of elderly people and lone parents and reducing rural isolation. The initiative is reported to enable a lot of people get to town one day weekly and to have made a big difference in people‟s lives. 66 Appendix 7 – BAND Outgoing Board and Staff – Outgoing board and a staff member identify a need for RTI to recommence transport home for rural based students taking supervised study at the Community College. Projects that were working well and were stopped on the closure of BAND Childcare – The Borrisokane Childcare service was open three mornings weekly and provided places for 15 to 18 children. The outgoing board report that the service met consistently with HSE Childcare standards. The service provided pre-schooling for children from age three up to school going age. Children with special needs were supported through HSE funded Childcare Assistant. – A Parent and Toddlers group was held in Borrisokane on one morning each week. Children were cared for in the crèche by the Development Worker Childcare Needs – BAND were in the process of researching the need for extended crèche facilities and a new childcare premises for children from 6 months to school age. A survey of community 58 needs based on a random sample from the community was carried out in about 2004 . A group set up to manage the survey stopped meeting when BAND closed. – The closure of the Childcare service affected areas in which BAND operated including: Borrisokane, Cloughjordan, Kilcass, Crowhill and surrounding areas. – The outgoing members of the board consider that there is a need for a Community Childcare facility operating at least 5 mornings weekly and similar to facilities in Nenagh, Templemore and to the facility under development in Templetuohy. – Staff members consider that full-time Childcare facilities are needed to enable people on low income/ with low educational levels/ returning to work/ in employment to attend training and places of work. – Full-time flexible, affordable childcare needed by people within LDSIP target groups so that they can attend full-time education and training courses e.g. FAS Local Training Initiative and VEC courses. – Crèche facility needed for children of parents doing night courses e.g. at the VEC. – Childcare, After-Schools and Homework Clubs services should be open to all members of the community regardless of income After-School and Homework Club services Outgoing board members and staff consider that there is a need for an After-School service for primary school children. In addition, a staff member reports that the services need to be well run, from a suitable premises and by the right person. There is also a need for strict structures for youth work and for developing After-Schools services. BAND had been in the process of developing a structure for After-Schools in Cloughjordan. 58 This survey analysis was not available at the time of writing this report. 67 Appendix 7 – BAND Outgoing Board and Staff An outgoing staff member, points out that After-Schools programmes and Homework Clubs provide a method for engaging with young people and focussing on their development. These services need to be developed as a “positive” service to which Home School Liaison services can refer young people. This is preferable to referral to the “containment” model of the school completion programme. – Two After-Schools groups worked very well in Borrisokane and one group in Ballingarry. Funding was needed to allow services to develop. – A meal was provided to all children attending After-Schools programmes. – Transport was provided from local primary schools to the After-Schools premises. – Transport will be needed for After-Schools, etc. – A transition programme was run for children moving from primary to second level school. – Summer programmes in Borrisokane – 2 programmes and Ballingarry – 2 programmes. – Traveller children were becoming involved especially before BAND‟s closure. – Subsidies to students from low income families to take part in the Study Group at Borrisokane Community College and to take the Rural Transport Initiative bus home in the evening. Cloughjordan, Ballingarry, Shinrone, Kilbarron areas – Services needed for people aged 12 and up to Leaving Certificate year. – High numbers of both primary and secondary school age school children were in need of an After-Schools service and Homework Club. Children returning to Cloughjordan from secondary school in Borrisokane had nothing to do, were at home alone and vandalism has started to become a problem. An application for funding for a Homework Club in a Cloughjordan Community Hall had been accepted but was not followed through due to the closure of BAND. This needs to be followed up. – A County Council funded Art for Fun programme complemented Cloughjordan Homework Club and was working well for primary school children from 5 - 6 to 12 years of age. – There was an After-Schools service in Shinrone to cater for the Ballingarrry area. – An After–Schools Project was in preparation in Kilbarron following consultation between the BAND Youth Worker and local Primary Schools and identification of a need. Youth Clubs These services were stopped on closure of BAND. This was a huge loss to the area. The need for Youth Clubs and other youth services had been clearly identified and Foróige had been approached to fund expanded Youth Club services in the area. – There were Youth Clubs in Borrisokane and Ballingarry – An outgoing staff member pointed out that running Youth Clubs and After-Schools is “highly” dependent on a Youth Worker. A Youth Worker needs to be employed in the area. – An outgoing staff member advises that Youth Clubs need to be led by volunteers in order to develop independence of the club rather than by a Youth Worker. 68 Appendix 7 – BAND Outgoing Board and Staff – Some of those interviewed spoke of difficulties in getting volunteers to work on projects, Youth Clubs, etc. The Youth Worker reported that a solid network of volunteers ensured the regular and smooth running of Youth Clubs. – School meals were funded through the Department of Social and Family Affairs for children attending After-Schools and the crèche. This was stopped on closure of BAND. – BAND were in the process of carrying out a Youth Needs Analysis and applying for Department of Education and Science Youth Worker funding and for funding to develop a Youth Café. This application was not processed due to BAND‟s closure. Parenting programme A successful Parenting Programme was run with HSE funding and staff. Outgoing board and staff commented on the loss to the community of the Parenting Programme. The board reported that the Co-ordinator was going out to meet parents and getting them involved. A staff member explained that the HSE funded programme: “was going excellent. There was an excellent worker,,,was just starting to get comfortable in the role and courses were being filled at night-time. And it was just going from strength to strength when…that closed down too…” This programme is needed in the community and a staff member considers that it could be 59 run by the Community Worker through a good Facilitator . The board point out that a Parenting Programme will need structures but not funding as it is HSE funded. One board member pointed out: “There‟s a huge need for that, …I can see it myself in school all the time. It‟s becoming a greater need, that certain parents would need a lot more support to make things happen for their kids, to keep them out of trouble.” – Need for supports to parents of children at primary school level to prevent problems arising at secondary school. Lone Parents group The Lone Parent groups and courses stopped in the area at the time of BAND‟s closure. Education Supports – Subsidies to attend VEC night courses and third level courses are not available since BAND‟s closure – BAND provided courses through the VEC based on needs identified in the community. This stopped with the closure of BAND – Literacy and numeracy tuition needed for adults with low levels of literacy. BAND plans to expand services to Lorrha Plans were being discussed and funding being sought from Pobal for an expansion of BAND services to Lorrha up to the closure of BAND. This had been requested by the Lorrha 59 The Department of Social and Family Affairs had a panel of good Facilitators available. 69 Appendix 7 – BAND Outgoing Board and Staff community and needs were indicated through 2002 Census data. Further research had started to look at needs in the community. BAND staff helped to set up a Youth Club in Lorrha because of an expressed need for a Youth Club in the area. Plans were not developed further due to BAND‟s closure. The board pointed out that Lorrha, Rathcabban, Carrick and Riverstown were in North Tipperary, yet had no LDSIP and social funding. – The need for services to Senior Citizens in the Lorrha area has been highlighted with rural isolation as a clear issue for Senior Citizens of the area. FÁS Community Employment – The FAS Community Employment Scheme ceased operating in the area. Projects that were working well with BAND support and should be continued Women’s groups The withdrawal of LDSIP funding has led to women‟s groups either closing down or losing members on low income. – Women‟s groups welcomed all women and operated an open door policy. – Numbers in the Cloughjordan group dropped from about sixteen to twenty people to between eight and ten people on the loss of LDSIP subsidies. This loss of subsidy affects the group‟s ability to provide e.g. knitwear and cake decoration demonstrations. The group wish to include all members of the community. However, at between €5.00 and €8.00 weekly, participation is not possible for people on low income. – BAND encouraged groups to pay €2 to €5.00 nightly. This allowed groups to bring in a variety of facilitators each night and to have ownership and independence. Staff experience was that „If everything‟s paid for them, they don‟t take the same out of it.‟. – Women‟s groups tended to be more successful at night. – Cloughjordan Women‟s group continued due to becoming independent before BAND‟s closure. – Ballingarry women‟s group continued following BAND‟s closure. This group had received committee skills training and became independent through opening a bank account and obtaining charitable status. The group had wished to be independent from the beginning and applied for grants, arranged tutors, etc. themselves. “They‟re totally in control. It‟s their own group, they pick their own tutors, they pick the venue, they pick the time.” – Ardcroney Women‟s group was also independent and has continued – Borrisokane Women‟s group stopped meeting on closure of BAND. They were reported by a staff member to have been “totally dependent on BAND”. – Being able to go home with something they had made was an important part of the women‟s groups, as was a cup of tea, a chat and building friendships. – The board cited the success of work by the Development Worker in estates including Tower Hill in Borrisokane and McDonagh Avenue in Cloughjordan. 70 Appendix 7 – BAND Outgoing Board and Staff Services to Senior Citizens A member of BAND‟s outgoing staff reported that there are two groups in Borrisokane. The Senior Citizen‟s group and Active Retirement groups receive funding from a range of agencies and are reported to be very strong. – Active Retirement groups have continued to operate in Ballinderry, Terryglass and Cloughjordan. Community approach The Development Worker explained the value of going out and meeting the community. “…going out to the Parent and Toddlers, we used to go to Cloughjordan and sit down with them… You‟d sit down and talk to the women. And that‟s where they started saying „Well, I‟d love to do a course but I couldn‟t afford all of it.‟ These sessions gave the parents an opportunity to find out about grants available to them. The outgoing staff member pointed out that being told about grants is much more meaningful than a news advertisement. As people can find out on a personal basis that the subsidy/ course/ activity is „for them‟ personally. – Staff explained the value of working within the community and developing relationships locally. Here a staff member explains that it was through contact with the Parent and Toddler group that contacts were made and news and information were spread. “That‟s where I started to work. That‟s where I got my Men‟s groups. That‟s where I got my Ballingarry Women‟s Group up… because a lot of them had come in to the Parent and Toddler…” – Staff emphasised the importance of the community feeling welcomed on coming to the local development organisation‟s offices. – The local office needs to provide information and supports on grants and applications. – Need for consistency of Development Worker as the work will develop over time, and not just over a one year time-span. – Need an office on the Main street of Borrisokane with a local phone number. – Rural Transport Initiative offices need to be on the Main street of Borrisokane so that the community will know about it. – The outgoing Youth Worker emphasised the After-Schools and other projects as valuable for networking with parents and grandparents in the community Groups needing development support Youth Groups Youth Services and development were largely dropped on BAND‟s closure. There is a need to develop services to meet the needs of the young people in the catchment area. Borrisokane Staff reported that: “…Unless you play sport there‟s not a lot going on in Borrisokane”. The Youth Worker worked with the Foróige group and volunteers assisting with the club. 71 Appendix 7 – BAND Outgoing Board and Staff – A Youth Worker is needed to develop and co-ordinate youth clubs and services and to work with the young people, communities and volunteers. Youth Needs – A safe, supervised place for activities, guest speakers, drug and suicide awareness raising, and fun education is needed – A Drop In centre is needed in Borrisokane for 13 – 18 year olds. – After Schools projects for both primary and secondary school age pupils throughout the catchment area– doing homework, fun, extra-curricular activities. – Need to provide subsidies for supervised studies in the Community College. – Need facilities for children aged 6-7 up to Leaving Certificate age who don‟t play football or hurling in Cloughjordan, Borrisokane, Terryglass, Ballingarry, Coolbawn areas. – A year round Swimming Pool (the current pool is open in Summer months only) – Gym, Community Hall – Need tennis courts in all of the above areas. – Young people have nothing to do in Ballingarry. This is a worry for parents. – Need longer Library opening hours in Borrisokane – A new playground has been opened in Borrisokane and meets a need in the town. Traveller Community Travellers participated inclusively in groups. A number of issues may need to be addressed to support inclusion of Travellers in the community. – One outgoing staff member felt that although some Travellers identified their needs, they did not always appear to use services organised to meet their needs. – The outgoing staff member considers that it may be useful to involve Travellers in the design and choice of courses to meet their needs. – VEC 1:1 tuition needs to be restarted. – One outgoing staff member reported having no contact with Traveller men while working in BAND or in the Borrisokane area. Men’s groups The Borrisokane based men‟s group was very successful due to word of mouth and interest in the one night “taster” sessions in tiling, painting, decorating and plumbing. laying wood floors, laying slabs, stonemasonry, landscape gardening, organic farming, etc. Safe Pass training and Telescopic Handling training were arranged. LDSIP funding supported the group‟s activities. These courses trained the men in additional skills and were helpful to some in getting work. “They‟re all trades that men didn‟t know how to do…In between we got personal development for them as well. We got a great guy…to come out and we kind of didn‟t do it in the beginning so that people felt this is what we were at. We kind of swung it in, in the middle. … And he got people to talk… And they felt that they worked and came home every evening and their whole lives were around their wives and their 72 Appendix 7 – BAND Outgoing Board and Staff kids, but they had nothing for themselves. And a lot of them admitted that and they opened up totally.” Sixteen men came weekly for 6 months to the Methodist Hall in Borrisokane. This included men who had recent experience of suicide in their families. The group asked to meet with the facilitator on a second night. The group then asked to continue to meet after Christmas. This did not happen due to the closure of BAND and withdrawal of funding. – There is a need for similar Men‟s and community groups to be facilitated to cater for community interests and concerns. This will have an impact on families and on the community in the short and longer-term. – The Ardcroney Men‟s group has continued and developed to cover most of the rural area covered by BAND. The group‟s activities include: Bowls, trips, and meetings with a similar group in County Cavan. Members tend to be retired farmers. Other groups that need to be developed and supported – Single Parent Group stopped on closure of BAND and had been supported by the Development Worker and Parent Co-ordinator. The group was doing a Communications and Computers course funded through the Department of Social & Family Affairs. The group included members of LDSIP target groups including Traveller parents. – Group of Women experiencing disadvantage. This group ceased on closure of BAND as there was no group to which funding could be given. – People experiencing rural isolation is a common issue for many who attend courses at the Old Church in Borrisokane. One member of staff explained: “Women used tell me, they saw nobody from one end of the day when they went home that evening. …they had nothing else, absolutely no mode of transport and nothing to do at night and they had no social outlet whatsoever. And that‟s because it‟s a big rural area, A lot of groups would have been socially excluded and would have been isolated totally.” Other needs and issues in the area The outgoing board and staff consider the following as the needs and issues of the area. – The Development Worker needs to be living within the area. – Need for Youth Clubs in Kilbarron and Terryglass. Alternatively if transport available to Borrisokane, children from rural areas could attend After-Schools, transition programme (from Primary to Secondary school) and benefit from rural/town integration and preparation for secondary school – Need to create links with Counselling services outside the area e.g. in Nenagh – There is a huge lack of activities in Borrisokane for all age groups except Senior Citizens – Need a Community Hall in Borrisokane – Night-time courses and activities are needed – Need for training in financial management and budgeting 73 Appendix 7 – BAND Outgoing Board and Staff – Long commutes to work in Limerick (1 hour) and Galway (1.5 hours) are a problem for people in the area – One staff member referred to a “brain drain” of people from the area. This is reflected in census data indicating low levels of educational attainment in the area. – An outgoing staff member spoke of issues for local shopkeepers because of local people being provided with RTI transport and increased shopping outside of the area. – Enterprise development and grants are needed in the area. Board members spoke of small „Start Your Own Business‟ grants which “…gave lots of small individuals here a leg up when they were getting up and running with their own …and now there‟s nothing…” – Rural isolation for Senior Citizens often went hand in hand with poor living conditions: “I couldn‟t believe sometimes…some of the living conditions that a lot of the senior citizens were in, and totally on their own… One day a week was their only trip with the Senior Citizens.” – Rural isolation and poor living conditions need to be addressed. – Issues of substance and alcohol misuse – Young people at risk – People excluded from full participation in the community – Access to information and supports to using information – Need a resource centre – A member of outgoing staff considers that an integrated approach between local development and Tipperary Lakeside company will ensure availability of a better community space (similar to NCN development of a first floor space in Nenagh) and better delivery to the community. – Collaboration between Tipperary Lakeside Company and the VEC in delivering courses: eg. Computerised Accounts and ECDL should recommence and be further developed. Careers and Jobs Support Service There was no Employment support or Jobs Club operating in the area except informally as part of the FÁS Local Training Initiative. One staff member who had provided an informal service considers that this is an essential service to school leavers and adults returning to education and work as well as to people changing careers. The needs were identified as: – Careers information – Information on courses at all levels – Newspapers for the surrounding counties as newspapers are not affordable for those with a low income and employment opportunities are mainly outside the area. – Help with identifying interests, doing C.Vs and applying for suitable jobs – Board members consider that there is a need for Enterprise development and supports. This is likely to strengthen the area socially as well as economically. 74 Appendix 7 – BAND Outgoing Board and Staff Underemployment and employment – An outgoing staff member considers that many people are underemployed in the BAND area although this does not emerge in Central Statistics office and Census statistics. – An outgoing staff member considers that figures for unemployment may be low in the area as many people leave the area to follow jobs elsewhere. There is also a very low level of female workforce participation among those living in the area. – One outgoing staff member reported that women in the area are looking for locally based work with flexi and/or part-time hours – Many people in the area commute long distances to work. – Board members also state that there is a lot of underemployment in the area although numbers receiving „dole‟ are small. They explained that: “People tend to get up and do a bit of work anyway.” They also pointed out that many people may have qualifications and the ability to do a lot, more. – There is little employment in the area apart from in agriculture. – Farm sizes in the area are reported to be larger than the national average. Farm incomes have fallen and what was previously considered as a large farm is no longer so in the modern world. However, few farmers are likely to seek state assistance and may be too proud to apply. – Because most farms in the area are larger than smallholdings, farmers are not eligible for supports to smallholders. – There is resistance among farmers to working off-farm – BAND had examined the option for development of a Rural Social Scheme to employ people who are underemployed. The idea is felt by a board member to be likely to work well in the area. Board Governance and related issues – An outgoing staff member recommends following best practice of a member leaving a meeting while issues involving conflict of interest are to be discussed. – An outgoing member of staff recommends the introduction of the National Youth Council‟s Anti-bullying programme. – A member of staff recommends that rates paid for contracted in services should take account of the company‟s budget and the impact on the company‟s ability to deliver other programmes and services. – A sliding scale of fees and reserved places should be introduced for Childcare services to enable lower income families to do training or work. Communications - Getting in touch with the community – Need for improved information to the community as “A lot of the time people are not informed of what‟s available” – The outgoing board members suggest using newspapers, Cloughjordan Farmers‟ Market st nd (1 and 2 Saturday each month) and flyers through doors. They were also aware of the huge value of staff going out to meet people and calling door to door. 75 Appendix 7 – BAND Outgoing Board and Staff – The outgoing board members refer to staff contact with organisations such as schools as important for getting information to the community through “Word of Mouth”. – Staff found that meeting parents in the Parent and Toddler groups was crucial to making contacts and to reaching other members of the family, especially men. – Parents in the Borrisokane Parent and Toddler group and members of Ballingarry Women‟s group told men about the planned men‟s group. – Staff found that door to door contact was effective in telling the community about activities and groups as well as in building relationships in the community. – Staff emphasised the need to go to groups to let them know what‟s available to them. “Need to go up to schools and tell Leaving Cert students what BAND offers and Parent and Toddler groups, Doctors‟ surgeries. Speak to people about the grants available to them, eg. the millennium Partnership Fund as “People don‟t know that a newspaper advert applies to them.” – Outgoing board members consider that it would be difficult to find and work with a group of people who are underemployed within a farming community. “You‟d need an extraordinary, skilled worker to get some of those people together..” Communications - Getting in touch through the World Wide Web Broadband services – BAND had tried to bring Broadband to the area. However, it is still not available despite a lot of groundwork by BAND‟s members. – Broadband would enable the area to attract people who want to work from home to come to live in the area. – Broadband would enable a declining community to develop both local people and to bring in new people to the area. Other groups to consult in the area served by BAND – Students on the FAS Local Training Initiative course at Tipperary Lakeside premises in the Old Church, Borrisokane (Students are living in the wider catchment area and have experience of unemployment or are seeking to return to work outside of home). – VEC; – FAS; – Community Welfare Officer (Mike Young), – Health Visitor (Chris Leahy), – Parent and Toddler groups in the Methodist Hall, Borrisokane and Cloughjordan and the 2 or 3 Community „Mothers‟ in each area (Marian Quigley, Co-ordinator, Parent and Toddler groups, HSE, Loretto House, Nenagh), – Tipperary Lakeside Group (Arthur Guest, Manager). Report written by: Nora Walls LDSIP Project Leader Roscrea 2000 and Nenagh Community Network 76 Appendix 8 - Newport Community & Youth Initiative Focus Group with Newport Community & Youth Initiative Group and Volunteers th 20 February, 2008 Summary of the main issues from the interview The group feel that the Community and Youth Development Officer in Newport has brought a huge change and new life into the Community Centre and to Newport Need to develop volunteering in Newport for development of sports activities Need to develop the Community centre with facilities and equipment for activities Need to develop local sports facilities and training for youth and adults Need to develop activities for all age groups including adults and older people Need for a Play area for children in Newport – similar to Moyross – well guarded and locked at 6.00pm so that children can come home then for dinner Need After-Schools service in Newport that could help children with homework (some parents are not able to read and write well) and enable parents to take up work Most of the group want to work. They feel that they need a support service to help them with this. The Limerick Youth Service is an example of a “fantastic” service Need affordable or Community Crèche in Newport to allow parents to go out to work Need for activities for adults - Pool Hall and gym, coffee shop and classes eg. in Security Officer training at the same time as children‟s activities Need for basic public services to be available in the town e.g. police presence, social welfare service, information, library, housing service, etc. Introduction and Method The participants were asked by the Community and Youth Development Officer if they would take part in the focus group. Before the focus group, they were given information about the new companies which will deliver social inclusion and rural development programmes in North Tipperary and Newport. They were told about the extension of the Local Development Social Inclusion Programme (LDSIP) and funding to Newport. Two women and one man took part in the focus group interview in Newport Community Centre. They ranged in ages from 25 to about 30 and were not in employment. One person works as a volunteer at the centre. They were taking or had already finished a level 5 FETAC course in computers at the centre and were hoping to do further courses including ECDL. The group agreed to the recording of the interview to enable a report to be written which would help in getting funding for the Community Centre and facilities in Newport. A Newport volunteer joined the group half way through and agreed with a lot of what had been said as well as adding ideas from his own experience. The Community Youth Development Worker 77 Appendix 8 - Newport Community & Youth Initiative also joined the group. He listened to the needs being raised as well as contributing to the discussion. The focus group looked at: 1. What is working well in Newport – especially in the Community and Community Centre 2. What is needed in Newport – activities, services, supports, etc. 3. Social issues and needs in Newport The issues raised by the group will be included in the development of LDSIP funded programmes for 2007 to 2013. Findings from the Focus Group Interview General issues One volunteer pointed to the need for a Community And Youth Development Officer to get things going in Newport. “There are a lot more activities going on in this Community Hall in the last year since the Youth Development Worker was here.” The others agreed saying that there had been nothing before and the centre had only opened on Fridays. Need for subsidies to enable parents on low income/Lone Parent Allowance to pay for children to do activities eg. Break Dancing. The existing subsidy is good. Activities cost €5.00 per child. This is too expensive if paying for other activities also There is no issue for parents or children (“…as long as the child is happy”) about receiving subsidies as subsidies are private Need classes for parents who can‟t read and write - suggestion that local teachers may be able to do this Need to develop volunteers or a further And Youth Development Officer/ Sports Instructor to help with activities and sports training Signing at the local Garda station has been stopped Access to Social Welfare and signing services is in Limerick and Housing services are in Nenagh. This means a lot of travel to access services One woman who works as a volunteer reported that the centre got a HSE grant for equipment. Since then 25 people are coming in to use the centre North Tipperary Community and Enterprise Department, County Council funding has been granted for the centre be done up Issues for the premises include – can‟t play indoor football as there are no protective covers on the overhead heaters Need for permanent staff at the centre to keep it open and to have someone to go to for information and help Need for centre to be open for social use e.g. Café Need to fundraise for children‟s play area facilities Community levies on building activities do not seem to be coming into Newport for play facilities and playground 78 Appendix 8 - Newport Community & Youth Initiative Need to raise awareness of activities at the Community Centre e.g. Archery, Set Dancing, etc. Need to recruit volunteers to the centre One volunteer encouraged others to join the Development Association so that their opinions can be given and listened to Old people have to travel to Templemore, Limerick, Nenagh and Sixmilebridge to play bingo as there is none in Newport The group would like Christmas blights to be put up using the money collected 2 years ago Between 100 and 200 new houses built since the 2006 census – need facilities for the growing population Gardaí – People feel they are “…never around when you want them.” The intercom system for contacting the Gardaí does not work, and nearest station is in Killaloe Need for speed ramps to be installed as promised Footpaths are in poor repair and are difficult to manage with a buggy Newport Community Centre Adult Education The participants feel they are learning useful skills at the Community Centre One to one support is particularly good when numbers are small The participants organised a teenage disco and were pleased with the experience and the responsibility which it involved. The work in holding the disco included: Designing a poster on the computer Working as bouncers at the disco The teenagers did DJ The women were very pleased with their success in managing an incident at the disco “…stopping it straight away, before it went any further.”. Basic guidance from the professional Youth “Bouncer” on how to manage young people smoking on the premises, etc. Some of the group felt much more confident having been trusted to run the disco – “It was a great responsibility for us as well…the way that Gearóid (the Newport Community And Youth Development Officer) trusted us. Like he‟s great confidence the way that he could trust us like. He trusted us… in the shop, with the money. And he told us to walk around and make sure there‟s nothing happening or whatever…And it gives us confidence in ourselves as well. … We handled that perfectly” Some of the group feel that they won‟t be given opportunities in Newport. They are willing however, to work to change this negative attitude in the town Newport is a good place to live with doctors and the Community Centre close by. 79 Appendix 8 - Newport Community & Youth Initiative Facilities and Activities for Children There was a discussion about childminding services No Community or affordable crèche in Newport Some would prefer themselves or family members to mind their own child One person feels that a Community or state funded crèche will have good standards and be affordable Private crèches in Newport have hours to suit working parents but are not affordable Need After-Schools service in Newport that could help children with homework (some parents are not able to read and write well) and enable parents to take up work The women in the group spoke of the Limerick after schools Club which was “very good.”. They feel it would be good for Newport to have an After-schools club. They cannot afford to use the local school based club at €20.00 weekly One woman would like to operate an After-Schools Club in the Community Centre A volunteer suggested asking FÁS to provide staff and staff training for the After-Schools Club There is a need for a Summer camp and Summer activities One volunteer stopped running a children‟s soccer club as she was running the club alone People tend not to volunteer but expect volunteers to take responsibility for their children Need to develop volunteers or a further And Youth Development Officer to help with activities and sports Need for safe and central children‟s play area eg. where adults can sit, read the paper and children can play safely within a fenced area with swings, slides, etc. Current play facilities are removed from the site in Winter and it is outside the town. Arts and Crafts classes needed Transport There is no bus to Limerick that is suitable for school and working hours Need transport to Limerick from Newport at 9.00am arriving Limerick 9:30 am Very limited and expensive bus service to Limerick Use of school bus to travel to Limerick would be a good idea Employment One of the group would love to work in a factory Two participants would like to work in a bar or as a Cook. One has prepared a C.V. with help from the Community And Youth Development Officer There is a need for help with getting a job. The group feel that there are no suitable openings in Newport and that jobs are got depending on “who you know” One participant wants to do a bar skills course in Limerick Most of the group want to work. They feel that they need a support service to help them with this. The Limerick Youth Service is given by all the group as an example of a 80 Appendix 8 - Newport Community & Youth Initiative “fantastic” job service. The people who have been there for training praise it highly and speak excitedly about the Limerick service. The service is for young people who have had a poor experience of school /early school leavers who “They can‟t get an education. Well, you go into this place, you get your training, you get your job skills, whatever you want, …do your Junior Cert…You can do Leaving Cert,… There‟s the world of opportunities inside there. There‟s the world of things to do.” One of the women would like a job and the type of help that she got in Limerick Youth Service. She cannot return there as she has had her full 3 years there Facilities and Activities for Young People There was a lot of interest and discussion about what is needed in Newport for 14 to 17 year olds One person feels there is a need for a Youth Club for 14 to 17 year olds A volunteer feels that young people over age 13 won‟t go to a Youth Club Some feel that a Snooker or Pool Hall is needed as they are social and “…more interesting than looking at each other‟s phones.” They know of good models of Pool Halls in Nenagh and Moyross. Other good activities include: There is a Handball Alley at the Tech and the group report that all the young people go there on Monday nights. One person explained “It‟s not even for us, because we‟re too old. It‟s mainly something to do… for all those young people who‟re going to be the same as us , down the pub in a couple of years time… We‟re older like, I‟m 25 now…” “ A room like this, (the Computer room) would be perfect.” Information and entitlements Need for more information on entitlements including: Need a local information service at least one day weekly – at the moment people have to travel to Limerick for information. The need is explained as: “An awful lot of people don‟t know their rights. And that goes for the old people as well.” No library in Newport No information from Social Welfare on entitlements. One participant gave an example of not being offered information about Communion grant although her child‟s details are on the DSFA database Could ask Community Welfare Officer for Information but the group are not hopeful about that. Back to Education Initiative Back to Work Allowance 81 Appendix 8 - Newport Community & Youth Initiative Facilities and Activities for Adults “Something for ourselves” Fitness, sports, boxing, Hip Hop, etc. Instruction on how to use the University gym equipment Affordable gym or P.E. and fitness equipment e.g. in the Community Centre Swimming Pool – nearest pool is in Limerick Nutrition class Adult activities taking place at the same time as children‟s activities Indoor soccer - Community Hall not suitable at the moment for soccer Outdoor soccer - nearest pitches are in Rearcross and Murroe The GAA pitch is only for club members and hurling Computer training is good for literacy, spelling, word processing and layout and for becoming confident with the computer and writing One person wants to do Foróige “Bouncer” security training – An introductory course will be run in the centre over 2 nights – time and days agreed at the focus group! One man in the group would like something to keep himself occupied. One person explained that if facilities are put in to the Community Centre for young people, they will not end up like themselves – “drinking and taking drugs”. The men in the group feel that other men will be interested in coming to the Community centre if the following facilities are there: The men would like a Pool or Snooker Table and Room, games and a gym Pool or Air Hockey machine Arcade games “Like they used to have down in Nenagh. Nenagh‟s an alright place now for young people.” “Nenagh has loads for young people.” “There‟s nothing down here for young people.” Research and report by Nora Walls LDSIP Project Leader Roscrea 2000 and Nenagh Community Network 82 Appendix 9 - FÁS Local Training Initiative - Borrisokane Report of Focus Group with participants on FÁS Local Training Initiative course in Borrisokane 21st February, 2008 Summary Main issues and needs to be addressed in the area Need to support the development of sustainable local enterprise Need to bring employment and enterprise to the area Need to prioritise full-time adult education and retraining for new employment Need for an extensive transport system for getting to/from training, work, social and educational activities Need for improved transport system to address rural isolation Need for Community Crèche to be re-established in Borrisokane Lack of facilities and activities for most age groups in the wider area Need to develop youth services including Youth Clubs Need to develop parenting support activities Structures necessary for developing the area An office and a local development person A Focus on supporting the development of structures for people not benefiting from existing facilities Need to develop enterprise in the area while keeping the area‟s rural character Need to develop a training and education venue in Borrisokane 1. Introduction Participants on the course were asked to take part in a Focus group interview to look at: 1. Local issues and needs in the catchment area ie. from Ardcroney in the North to Carrigahorig in the South and from the County Offaly border and Ballingarry in the East to Kilbarron, Terryglass and the river Shannon in the West. 2. Social issues for people living in the wider area surrounding Borrisokane 3. Education and employment services needs The report will inform the work of the new North Tipperary LEADER Partnership Company and the extension of the Local Development Social Inclusion Programme (LDSIP) throughout North Tipperary and more specifically in the hinterland of Borrisokane and its catchment area. 7. Method Twelve men and women who were participants on the FÁS Local Training Initiative course took part in a focus group interview in the Old Church, Borrisokane. 83 Appendix 9 - FÁS Local Training Initiative - Borrisokane The participants were training for re-employment and for enterprise. They were living in the wider area in and around Borrisokane. The group was diverse – representing views of people interested in obtaining employment as well as people interested in developing local enterprise e.g. Horticulture and Crafts. Some members were interested in community development and in planning for the sustainable economic, social and environmental development of the area. The interview was recorded electronically with the group‟s permission. 8. Findings Findings are given below under the main headings raised by the participants. Enterprise and employment There was a lot of focus on this issue, seen as central to meeting their social, cultural and economic needs. The participants feel that many people are “sleeping in the area and travelling to work”. Active local industry and employment is seen as important to free up people to get involved in community and voluntary activity. The needs include: Employment in North Tipperary “but jobs are slipping out of our hands”. To develop local enterprise, self employment and jobs in the area Locally developed industry providing sustainable industry and employment rather than short-term multi-national industry Need to look at models for small industries‟ development e.g. Tullamore, Co. Offaly Need to develop the area as a crafts and/or high-tech manufacturing hub Need to develop the area as a hub for crafts training, workshops and a co-operative Need to develop tourism and tourism related industry– but this is only seasonal For those who would like to be employed, there was no preference for types of employment and there is readiness to retrain to meet the needs of new companies The IDA and Shannon Development are the organisations that participants see as having responsibility to create new employment opportunities. Need support to develop local enterprise. Some participants feel that barriers are put up by agencies with responsibility for supporting local small enterprise development Need to take up the opportunity presented by Borrisokane‟s central location between Birr, Roscrea, Nenagh and Portumna and the number of villages contained within that area Develop Borrisokane as a training and education centre Need to bring commercial and social life to Borrisokane which will help in marketing the area as an attractive place to live Some participants feel that people shouldn‟t have to travel outside the area to find work Some participants view lower wages to non-Irish workers as a threat to local employment of Irish workers A participant was concerned at news of proposed closure of Gurteen Agricultural College and the likely impact on employment of the 20 to 30 staff and on the local economy. 84 Appendix 9 - FÁS Local Training Initiative - Borrisokane Ideas for enterprise development Production of locally grown produce for selling at Farmers‟ Markets rather than Set Aside of good land Need to change rules and regulations to suit consumer needs - i.e. no pre-washing of vegetables, no plastic wrapping on vegetables and no requirement for producer to have facilities for washing and wrapping of produce Marketing the area Industry that is appropriate to the character of the area should be developed e.g. crafts or industry that will fit with the areas‟ strengths and development plans: e.g. food growing and marketing, meeting needs of home based workers for computer services and products, etc. Adult training and education Need to retrain people who have lost jobs in manufacturing At the moment school leavers and adults have to travel to Limerick, Raheen, Co. Limerick, Cork, Athlone, Dulin, Nenagh, Roscrea and Templemore to access education and skills training opportunities Participants agreed on the need to develop accessible full-time education/training up to degree level to meet opportunities for employment in a “knowledge economy”. Courses could be based in Borrisokane or in the villages e.g. Lorrha, Ballingarry, Terryglass, etc. The participants agreed on the need to develop the Old Church, Borisokane as a facility for full-time adult education and training similar to St Sheelan‟s in Templemore VEC night classes are not affordable for people who are “on the dole” even with subsidies One participant feels that further education grants are not available when applied for Transport Transport is seen by the group as a big problem in the area Need RTI to each area more than once weekly Need RTI that will bring you to e.g. Nenagh and back home at night or to bring you to the pub at night as “Life doesn‟t stop after 6:00pm. You might want to go to a play. You might want to go to a cinema…” Need more RTI vehicles Need transport at suitable times for travel to work Inter-town buses such as Bus Éireann need to be co-ordinated to reduce waiting times e.g. at Birr where there is a long wait to change to the Athlone/ Borrisokane/ Limerick bus Need for a local taxi service as it is impossible to get a taxi from rural areas into town There is a local minibus that is mostly “parked up the road” and only in occasional use. Need to make use of this publicly owned facility Local issues Local shops - where they exist, they are too expensive 85 Appendix 9 - FÁS Local Training Initiative - Borrisokane Rural isolation is a big issue especially for elderly people in the area People living in isolation would benefit from people coming out to them Need Meals on Wheels service again (used to be provided by Portumna Transition Year students) Need a local venue/community Hall in Borrisokane The Old Church is seen as a central and good venue but in need of development and to ensure full use of the space Need Citizen‟s Information Service Childcare Need for a crèche in Borrisokane to meet Childcare needs of people in full and in part- time employment and training. Youth services Need After –Schools from 2:00pm each school day Need for Homework Club and Youth Club for Primary School age children No facility for 12 to 17 year olds. ”They need somewhere to go hang out, „cause they‟re always on the streets and stuff.” There is agreement in the group on the need for a Youth Centre. “There is a need and even the youngsters, a lot of the kids, if you were to go to interview, even the 13 to 18 year olds would say „Oh, yeah, if there was something here we would go.‟” Young people need somewhere to play pool, darts, table-tennis and to use the internet similar to the Portumna Youth Café Need local music/disco venues instead of having to go to Nenagh, Tullamore and Oola. Need support from Foróige to get Youth Centre structures and volunteers up and running. A number of adults are willing to run a club with support through Foróige to point to where to source funding, insurance, policies, etc. Need for transport for young people in the Kilbarron and Terryglass area to bring them to the new Foróige Youth Club in Ballinderry. “…there‟s loads of children around that area that would go if they had transport…They don‟t have transport.” The group report that there is nothing for over 18s in the area. Need for something like a mobile cinema (there was one in Portumna in Summer, 2007) Elderly people Need to develop social activities for elderly people Need for transport to reduce rural isolation Facilities for adults The group are very clear that there are no facilities for themselves. “Unless you‟re involved in the GAA, there‟s nothing else.” 86 Appendix 9 - FÁS Local Training Initiative - Borrisokane Social Welfare services People have to travel each month to Nenagh or Birr to sign on since Garda barracks and Post Office signing was stopped. This is an issue especially for those who have no private transport as they must ask for a lift. Need to maintain Post Offices for Social Welfare collection and for social reasons as closing them is disimproving rather than improving rural areas Senior Citizens use the RTI to come in to the post Office on Fridays Facilities needed in the area Need to put funding into development of the Old Church as participants feel it would be an ideal centre for a lot of things including enterprise development, etc. Old Church development would bring business and tourism to the town and make the town more attractive to come to live in Development work Need to address the situation where many people are going out to work and “…don‟t have time for their lonely neighbour living on their own anymore.” Need to talk to people “on the floor”. “Anyone living in the area knows what their area is lacking and knows what would be and what could be of benefit to the area.” Need for a Development Worker to talk with and listen to the „normal‟ Joe Soap Need to get the “right” people in place to develop the area Need to have an office in the area and to be in touch with local community. “…that on the ground can call in and ask what‟s happened: X, Y and Z . Find out what‟s going on. And they can work with the locals then. Local office would have to be staffed by local people, “because they know what‟s going on… They know what‟s lacking…” Concern was expressed that funding should not be for the GAA but for “…something outside the GAA…” : a swimming pool, etc. Need for funding to improve (enlarge, improve safety, heating and cover ) the Borrisokane open-air Public Swimming Pool which opens for only 2 months every year Need for reassurance about who funding will benefit in the area. Local industry and employment is seen as important to free up people to get involved in community and voluntary activity. Research and report by: Nora Walls LDSIP Project Leader Roscrea 2000 and Nenagh Community Network 87 Appendix 10 - Women at St. Sheelan‟s College, Templemore Focus Group Report Women on Office Technology and Back to Education Courses St. Sheelan’s College, Templemore th 8 February, 2008 Summary Need for crisis support services including a local response to Domestic Violence outside of 9 am to 5 pm. Not enough Mental Health Services. Need to develop and support facilities and activities for all age groups Need for Youth Worker and for Youth facilities Need for support services and facilities for Primary School age children Need for inter-agency work to deliver better services in the community 1. Introduction Participants on the Back to Education and Office Technology courses at St Sheelan‟s College, Templemore were asked to take part in a Focus group interview to look at: 1. Local issues and needs 2. Experiences of returning to education and employment 3. Experiences of the courses they have taken at St Sheelan‟s The report will inform the work of the new North Tipperary LEADER Partnership Company and the extension of Local Development Social Inclusion Programme (LDSIP) throughout North Tipperary. 2. Method Nine women took part in a focus group interview at St Sheelan‟s College. The women were contacted by the College Principal and asked to take part in a focus group interview. The interview was recorded electronically with the group‟s permission. 3. Findings Childcare facilities – The new crèche needs to be affordable in the same way that the older Community Crèche is. Facilities for Young People – Need a Youth Worker who can build relationships with young people and young men and a Garda School liaison Officer – Need to develop relationships with local Gardaí and to develop Garda skills for working with young people and adults 88 Appendix 10 - Women at St. Sheelan‟s College, Templemore – Need children‟s Playground – Family visits with a Youth Worker to the seaside and bowling in Summer, 2007 were welcomed – A Youth Club is needed for young people aged 14 to 17 years – Need facilities and activities for young people e.g. Snooker Hall and alternatives to drinking at 15 years, in addition to the Athletic and Fishing Clubs – Need boxing especially for young people who feel they don‟t fit in or who have low self- esteem – Additional activities are needed for girls including bowling which they love and which doesn‟t involve drink – It is important that a good adult is in charge as was the case in the Snooker Club – There is no Youth Café in Templemore – Need for Drama and Theatre Group for developing young people‟s self-esteem Health and Child Development Services – Speech and Language Therapy Services are only available one day monthly in Templemore. For other SLT service appointments, families must travel to Nenagh – There is a need for supports to children with low self-esteem who are not engaged in GAA and may be at risk of alcohol misuse and suicide – There is not enough help for managing children with ADD who are teased by other children in Primary school – Teachers need training in working with children who are frustrated and having difficulties in school Parenting – Parenting courses are needed in the town to help parents to develop children‟s self confidence – A Parent & Toddler meeting takes place weekly in the new Childcare facility – Parenting courses are needed from the time that children are small Need for Crisis Support and Domestic Violence Services The women are aware of and have experience of suicide and marriage breakdown. Because of this they are aware of the need for support services. They report an overall lack of support services in the area. – Templemore Social Services is the first place to call if there are social problems such as Domestic Violence between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm. There is a need for a service outside these hours – Not enough mental health support services to meet the needs of the community, particularly for young people and in the context of high suicide risk – Need services and supports to meet drugs and alcohol related behaviours – No support service to women experiencing Domestic Violence at night other than Gardaí 89 Appendix 10 - Women at St. Sheelan‟s College, Templemore – One participant reported having to contact emergency services during the night with no answer at the end of the phone – The women are not sure where the nearest women‟s refuge is located, but will find out! – There are no supports to lone parents and to children in distress. This results in children bringing stress into school – Need support for children and families in crisis – Little access to counselling services in Templemore – One person felt we are too dependent on counselling and need to support each other more – Need for Alateen in Templemore. A local group has tried to start this in Templemore – Need for Rainbow group for children in crisis Development work – Need for interagency work – Need to bring together GAA, schools and other people to look at approaches to building up children‟s self-esteem and at ways of being successful other than being on the team – Need for assertiveness training in primary education to support children in the transfer from primary to second level education and in dealing with stress and bullying. Community Groups Many of the women were in a Women‟s Education Group which was grant aided by Templemore Social Services. One woman stated “I would love if that started again.”. A number of the women agreed and they decided to revive the group at today‟s meeting. – Some women felt that the Assertiveness course on the Back to Education course and in the Women‟s Group was of huge value to them and should be available to all age groups – Need a premises for Women‟s group to meet. E.g. the Snooker Hall or the Monastery where the group used to meet – Decline in ICA and cost of bus to Loughmoe ICA meetings is too high for one interested woman – There is a „great craic‟ Active Retirement group for ages 55 plus – Need to develop a Men‟s Group – Need to develop social activities including: a cinema which many of the women feel “…would be a great thing in the town.”. Transport Transport between towns is poor – To travel to Nenagh women have to get a bus to Thurles and then change for Nenagh or alternatively travel to Roscrea and then to Nenagh – Need subsidised transport – A Rural Transport service would be very useful to people living outside the town 90 Appendix 10 - Women at St. Sheelan‟s College, Templemore Employment Some women are in employment and some would like to receive career guidance to enable them to look at life choices, doing something for themselves and being happy with themselves Experiences of Returning to education and St Sheelan’s College The women did not talk much about their experiences of courses and the college. They preferred to focus on needs in the community and their ideas for addressing needs. It was clear that the women were confident and at ease within the educational setting and in the group. Some spoke of moving on to a Tipperary Institute course in the Autumn while others spoke of other aspects of education that they had enjoyed. Some women would like to have career assessment to enable them to look at their interests and options. The group have engaged in a lot of personal development through St Sheelan‟s courses. e.g. Assertiveness training, Personal Development training, education and social activities. They appear to have developed a lot of skills and experience which can be used positively in development of community responses to addressing needs in Templemore Research and report by: Nora Walls LDSIP Project Leader Roscrea 2000 and Nenagh Community Network 91 Appendix 11 - North Tipperary Traveller Network Meeting and Focus Group Interview with North Tipperary Traveller Network 21st February, 2008 Introduction The focus group with the North Tipperary Traveller Network took place as part of the Local Development Social Inclusion Programme (LDSIP) consultation process. The LDSIP is due to be expanded throughout North Tipperary in 2008 under the new North Tipperary LEADER Partnership Company. To prepare for this, Nenagh Community Network and Roscrea 2000 carried out consultation throughout North Tipperary with people in LDSIP target groups e.g. people who were unemployed, on work preparation courses, working in the Rural Social Scheme, with women‟s groups and agencies. The aim of holding the focus group with North Tipperary Traveller Network was to identify – 1. Social issues and needs for Travellers 2. Appropriate approaches to consultation, with a view to looking at issues and needs which can be addressed through LDSIP support. At the time that this consultation was being carried out, consultation for drawing up a North Tipperary Integrated Traveller Strategy was being prepared. The future process for the Partnership company‟s work with Travellers will be carried out in the context of the North Tipperary Integrated Traveller Strategy Summary of Meeting and Focus Group The three priority areas of need for the Traveller community are: Accommodation Health Education The group members hold a variety of different opinions representing the range of views of Travellers, of sectors and of agencies working with the Traveller Community. Some of the Traveller Community members point out that they cannot speak on behalf of other Travellers. Some of the main points from the interview are as follows: Meaningful consultation Need for tangible results from consultations with Travellers Consultation with Travellers many in the group feel it is appropriate for consultation to take place with the Traveller Community. there is no need for two separate consultations for the LDSIP and North Tipperary Integrated Traveller Strategy. Any consultation should take place within the context of developing a North Tipperary Integrated Traveller Strategy. 92 Appendix 11 - North Tipperary Traveller Network further consultation is not needed as Traveller needs have already been identified at length. Some of the participants in the Network group feel strongly that the emphasis needs to be on actions to address the needs and issues already clearly identified elsewhere. Education policy there is a need to develop and implement a policy to meet the state‟s responsibility to provide Travellers with the same educational opportunities as the rest of the population. Health Traveller health is an issue with statistically high rates of infant mortality and short life expectancy for many Travellers Education and accommodation issues have an impact on Traveller health Mental health is an issue for the Traveller Community Need for Traveller education and information on health issues Accommodation Money is being wasted on providing Travellers with unsuitable housing. There is a need to ask Travellers what they need and to ensure these needs are met through adequate accommodation. Where Travellers want to integrate with others eg in housing estates this should be facilitated rather than maintaining segregation. Policy on accommodation needs to take the needs of the wider community including Travellers into account. This will enable housing policy to meet social rather than simply economic needs The county council explained that some households have stated a preference for living in one type of accommodation. As time has gone by, a number of households have asked for transfers away from this type of accommodation. The council does not have the resources to grant all requests for transfers at one time. 1. Introduction to the Focus Group Interview There was a discussion at the beginning of the meeting to explain the reasons for today‟s consultation, to allow time for questions and to ask the group members‟ for permission to record the focus group interview. All present agreed to recording the interview. A copy will be circulated to the Network for feedback and comment. At the end of this discussion two members of the group had to leave due to other commitments. They asked that telephone contact be made with them so that they could give their views. A total of eight people contributed to the focus group. In addition, two people who could not attend the focus group provided additional points on A. Health and access to health services and B. Housing and the issues that North Tipperary County Council are dealing with. 93 Appendix 11 - North Tipperary Traveller Network 2. Findings from the Focus Group 2.1 Consultation with Travellers Some members of the Network felt that it will be useful to meet Travellers in North Tipperary and to talk with them. It is essential that consultation take place with all Travellers in Nenagh (where this focus group was held). They are not able to talk for other Travellers who have their own opinions on their issues and needs. Consultation must include those who are most marginalized. The following groups should be included in consultations in Nenagh: NCN group – meeting in NCN Ballyvolane group – meeting in Ballyvolane Those not involved in groups but living locally on the Traveller site Youth Club members Approaches to involving the broader community Contact with individuals in the Nenagh area can be made through the NCN Traveller Development Officer There was concern that the “…majority of Travellers are not involved in groups. They are probably the most marginalised part of the community…” One person felt that: “If it‟s explained to the men, they‟ll be interested.”. Access to these people will be through the North Tipperary Traveller Network. The person carrying out the consultation can talk to people house to house to explain what the consultation is about. Another option is to attend the last hour of the meetings at the site (Mondays and Tuesdays between 10:00am and lunchtime) and in NCN (Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays) to explain what the consultation is about. A suggestion was made that a once off meeting be held to explain the importance of the consultations to all Travellers as “Travellers should be aware of what this whole process is about”. The Traveller Support Worker meets people through calling to the site. The people then gather in one house. Limits to the amount of consultation under the current LDSIP consultation The interviewer pointed out that LDSIP consultation should take place with Travellers around all of North Tipperary as well as Nenagh. There was agreement on this. In addition it was pointed out that it must include, in particular, those who are the most marginalised. The interviewer explained that it is unlikely that wide consultation can take place with Travellers under the current LDSIP pre-development work which is due to be completed at the end of March. The recommendations from the Network will be given to the Management of the partnership companies. They will then make a decision on what, if any, further LDSIP consultation will take place. 94 Appendix 11 - North Tipperary Traveller Network Broad consultation under North Tipperary Draft Integrated Traveller Strategy A suggestion was made that any LDSIP consultation should be part of consultations for the Draft Integrated Traveller Strategy. This will avoid repetition and over- consultation Need for policy on Traveller inclusion in decision making about Travellers A member of the Network asked that feedback be given to the Higher Level Working Group that Travellers are not represented in the group. This is pointed out to be the opposite to inclusion and one person explained: “…There‟s people talking about Travellers who have no idea.”. 2.2 Main Issues Affecting Travellers in North Tipperary The group outlined the main needs of Travellers as: Education Health Accommodation Education Accommodation for educational activities The VEC Community Education Facilitator needs: accommodation for education and training courses. resources to be available for Traveller education North Tipperary VEC are planning a Traveller Education Centre in North Tipperary. The aim is to meet the needs off Travellers leaving school without a Leaving Certificate. Current experiences of education for Travellers Education is viewed as a main source of problems for Traveller children. It is also therefore the main area where solutions need to be put in place. Problems continue throughout the school experience. When unaddressed, early school leaving and poor or no literacy skills are the outcome. One person‟s sister has difficulty with reading and writing. She is reported to be under no pressure to remain in classes and the secondary school premises. This should not be allowed to happen. The participants feel that Traveller children are not comfortable at school. “…They might not like mixing or they might get picked on at school or whatever...” Traveller children are treated differently to others and are made to feel different to others. This leads to negative experiences of school. One of the results is that children do not learn and leave school unable to read or write. One person feels her children would like to get a better education and a better job. Her child got good marks in exams. However, they have not been able to get a job and came to NCN for education and for help with getting work 95 Appendix 11 - North Tipperary Traveller Network The Visiting Teacher is considered to provide good support. However, one participant feels that the system which operated in Dublin through a teacher being based in the school to help Traveller children was more effective. Outcomes of discrimination at school Currently Travellers are staying in school for a very limited period and moving out of school without completing their education Travellers are leaving school unable to read and write Travellers are moving out of school into courses provided by the VEC Parents‟ experiences of dealing with their children‟s school One parent finds that she cannot discuss her child‟s needs with the School Principal. She cannot even meet her child‟s teacher and is seen instead by another staff member. She feels that there is a barrier to her discussing her child with those in charge of her child‟s education. Need for a child centred approach to supporting children in school The Network considers that issues of discrimination and support need to be addressed in schools at a much earlier stage in each child‟s education. One person has a very clear view (based on her own experience) of what is needed to support children: “I think, in the schools,… if they were giving the children the confidence to do something else, they wouldn‟t have to leave. Like, that‟s why we come back to Adult Education here. It gives us something to do. It gives us the confidence to become something and to do something. We get that here (in Nenagh Community Network). …to know to read and write and do other things… like it‟s good.” This supports the view that greater supports to children are important for children in primary and secondary schooling as well as for adults. All stakeholders need to buy in to the effectiveness of supports to children in education Some members of the group feel that teachers do not have enough time to look after the needs of all children in large classes. One person feels “I think Travelling children need someone just to give them a little push…” “Teacher‟s skills for working with children needing support are very poor.” Need Community Worker type approach with a focus on working with children‟s own skill levels – for all children National policy needs to ensure that schools have a responsibility to retain children in education. It is pointed out that at the moment the state allows schools “off the hook” and prevents real progress, as young people can transfer to training centres or Youthreach courses Need for all children to be treated with respect at school Need for education and awareness raising among teachers, School Principals at primary and secondary school levels and in educational bodies as “…educational 96 Appendix 11 - North Tipperary Traveller Network bodies do not have awareness around diversity.”. It is felt by one person that they may not be aware of the impact of treating children differently and of discrimination Need to “…work with parents as well, as they have often come through the school system unable to read and write, don‟t know the school system, so are unable to help children with homework either.”. Pre-school education from age 2 to 4 is essential to ensuring that Traveller children are not at a disadvantage when starting school at age 4. Training Centres as an alternative to staying at school There are different opinions on Travellers moving from school to VEC training and education centres. The following points were made on the issue: Traveller children should be properly supported and integrated into the State Education system. The practice of providing alternative training and a fee to young people to attend VEC and FAS funded training centres detracts from the responsibility to provide Travellers with the same educational opportunities as the rest of the population. The practice of providing alternative education streams to Travellers is “creating huge problems” and gives children an excuse not to go to school. Alternatives to mainstream education are also welcomed in the context of the failure of the system in providing Travellers with the same educational opportunities as the rest of the population One person explained the dilemma, as “…children don‟t like going to school and the training centre just keeps them off the streets and keeps them occupied. And they know they have income, they‟re getting paid for something. …It‟s better than doing nothing.” The importance of being properly educated The group agree on the value of education in enabling people to get on better including: “Sometimes they‟d learn a lot more in school, lots of subjects in the school…” “They‟d be better educated and would be able to get a better job, go to college and so on.” It is felt that the Traveller training centre and Youthreach do help young people to improve their reading and writing skills, which then help them to get a job. What is valued in education are the skills and knowledge to get a better job and to go into college. Experiences in Adult Education Some of the Network members have attended courses at NCN. One person explains that what makes learning a good experience is: “You get really interested,. You know you can do something and become something… And they give you back that confidence to do it here…” 97 Appendix 11 - North Tipperary Traveller Network Need for pre-school education as preparation for integration and success at school It was pointed out that the need for support to children is not exclusive to Traveller children. There is no pre-school facility available to children in Nenagh. As a result, children who start off at a disadvantage are further disadvantaged when starting school at age 4. “The other kids are a bit ahead of you, and then you get lost. And if you get lost in baby infants, then you will remain lost… So, in terms of education, the money needs to go into pre-school education.” A strong argument for a policy of pre-school investment is made on the basis of the success of 2 to 4 year olds who have been at pre-school. “We‟ve noticed that consistently, the children who‟ve been to pre-school do far better in school.” Health Issues Health issues are integrated with other issues for Travellers. As well as education and accommodation issues, the following are issues that need to be addressed: Access to services and need e.g. for awareness raising of the health benefits of attending appointments and implications of missing appointments Health education and promotion for health lifestyle and to encourage immunisation High mortality rates for children and poor life expectancy for Travellers Integration of the work of the designated Public Health Nurse for Travellers alongside the work of the Traveller Primary Health Workers Mental health and access to mental health support services Alcohol and substance misuse Education on issues and information (eg. on where to go) around domestic violence Accommodation Issues Housing The comments around housing point to some consultation taking place. However, the outcomes of consultation are that Travellers are often offered housing in which they are not happy, cannot settle in and then leave. Some return to living on the “side of the road.”. It is pointed out that there is a need .“…for some innovation in looking at what is going to meet the needs of the whole community and the Traveller community as well.”. Travellers are being asked what they need but then not listened to There needs to be someone there to ask Travellers what they want and to ask if they would be happy in that accommodation and whether they would settle in it Money is wasted on providing unsuitable accommodation eg. in halting sites and group housing schemes Roscrea is an example where there are two halting sites and a group housing scheme in which nobody wants to live. Travellers tend to have very different needs for accommodation – the one type of housing does not fit all people 98 Appendix 11 - North Tipperary Traveller Network One person reported that the County Council allows only one or two Traveller families into housing estates. Sometimes settled people are on one side and Travellers on the other. This raises the question of integration in the community. “How are people going to communicate?…It‟s just, they‟re not bringing them together, are they?” People may accept unsuitable accommodation because it is better than living on the roadside without water, electricity and facilities One person pointed to the failure of the economically led policy of building large housing estates. There is a need to base decisions on needs rather than on short- term economic criteria which can result in low cost but unsuitable housing The County Council representative explained that some Travellers in the halting sites and group housing schemes would initially have had a preference for living in this type of accommodation. As time has gone on a number of households have sought transfers away from this type of accommodation The Council would not have the resources to grant all requests for transfers at one time. 3. Conclusions There is clearly a need for an integrated approach to addressing the needs of Travellers in North Tipperary. It is clear also that Travellers need to be part of developing effective approaches and meaningful responses to meeting needs of Travellers. The North Tipperary Draft Integrated Traveller Strategy is being developed at the same time as the LDSIP consultations are taking place. It makes sense that there is one consultation process to look at issues and needs for Travellers in the county. The interviewer undertook to bring the question of consultation with the County Tipperary Traveller Community to the Managers of the LDSIP consultation work so that the following issues can be addressed: Decision on whether to carry out further consultation with Travellers in North Tipperary as part of the LDSIP consultation work Need to avoid having two separate (LDSIP and Integrated Traveller Strategy) consultations in the county Need to engage all Travellers in consultation Need to have tangible results from consultations with Travellers Role of North Tipperary Traveller Network in representing issues and facilitating communication with the wider population of Travellers in the county. Research and report by Nora Walls LDSIP Project Leader Roscrea 2000 and Nenagh Community Network 99 Appendix 12 - Templemore Social Services Telephone Consultation with Templemore Social Services th 4 December, 2007 Contact was made in December 2007 with the Director of Templemore Social Services by phone. The following were the priority issues which the Director identified for Templemore. Early School Leaving Lack of Vocational Training Opportunities Substance misuse Youth Nowhere to go Adult literacy Need to work with small children and families to prevent difficulties in later years Use of a local hall was planned as a Youth Drop in Centre from January 2008 Youth Worker to be employed on a part-time basis. Parents were noted to be no longer active in volunteering with services Need for a Development Worker to be based in Templemore and to work with the Templemore Community Report by Nora Walls LDSIP Project Leader Roscrea 2000 and Nenagh Community Network 100
"North Tipperary Report on Consul"