Minister Joe O’Brien announces expansion of the Empowering Communities Programme

·       Expansion of the Programme to the Cherry Orchard region

·       Funding for deployment of a new Community Engagement Worker in the area

Minister for Community Development and Charities, Joe O’Brien TD, has today (Tuesday, 7 March 2023) announced the expansion of the Empowering Communities Programme (ECP) to the Cherry Orchard area. The ECP specifically targets area-based deprivation, identified by the Pobal HP Deprivation Index, through a community development approach.

The programme aims to empower local communities to craft their own response to area based poverty, social exclusion and the resulting consequences, with the support of the relevant Local Community Development Committee (LCDC).

As part of this programme, a Community Engagement Worker will be recruited for Cherry Orchard to develop and facilitate relationships between community stakeholders, community groups and statutory agencies and structures.

Speaking at the launch Minister O’Brien said:

“I am delighted to announce the expansion of Empowering Communities Programme to now include Cherry Orchard. This programme uses a community development approach to address social exclusion and the impacts of poverty and disadvantage in very specific target areas. 

“The ECP targets specific small areas with an intensive, one-to-one approach led by community engagement workers, tackling the very significant impacts of poverty and disadvantage in local communities.

“The key aim of the programme is to support communities in developing and delivering their own appropriate responses to the specific challenges they face as a community every day, guided by the community engagement workers.

“We have seen the effects on communities when people are deprived of a voice. No one knows better what the specific challenges facing Cherry Orchard are than the people of Cherry Orchard, who experience the consequences of these challenges in their daily lives.

“Being a part of the Empowering Communities Programme will ensure the voices of the Cherry Orchard community are foremost in addressing the issues impacting the local community.”

The Minister continued:

“I want to acknowledge the vital role of the Community Engagement Workers in the programme. Building relationships within and between local communities is critical to tackling social exclusion and disadvantage and the new engagement workers here in Cherry Orchard will ensure the programme is driven by the community first and foremost.”

Minister O’Brien concluded:

“This programme builds on a number of other programmes supported by my department and will work closely with other government funded initiatives aimed at disadvantaged areas such as the Community Safety Partnerships and the Healthy Communities Programme. 

“The people focused, capacity building and collaborative approach of the ECP is consistent with the government’s 5-year strategy to support the community and voluntary sector, ‘Sustainable, Inclusive and Empowered Communities 2019-2024′.”

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