Sandra Cribben, Killala Community Council Newstart and Gerry Creamer, Bee Park Resource Centre Manorhamilton,
Community and local development groups from across Leitrim attended a seminar on promoting social inclusion in communities on Wednesday, 7th February in Kilmovee, Co. Mayo.
Hosted by Pobal, who work on behalf of Government to support communities, the seminar was an opportunity for community groups to reflect on future challenges to address social exclusion and poverty in a local and regional context.
Over 80 representatives from community groups in Mayo, Galway, Roscommon, Sligo and Leitrim attended the seminar. Speakers included Jerry Murphy, Pobal Deputy CEO; Martina Earley, CEO of Roscommon LEADER Partnership Company; and Dr Chris McInerney, Department of Politics and Public Administration UL.
The seminar discussed the vital role the sector plays in enabling inclusive communities in a changed and diverse environment. Operating in an evolving regulatory landscape, the need to deepen capacity and governance within the sector emerged, with recognition of the support needed to achieve this aim. The importance of co-ordination within the sector, at local, regional and national level, to avoid duplication of effort and intervention is the responsibility of all those working in the sector.
Martina Earley spoke about the work of Roscommon LEADER Partnership Company in enabling social inclusion, citing examples of how they engage with different target groups and communities, supporting them as needs change locally.
Looking at the wider challenges for the state, Dr Chris McInerney of the Department of Politics and Administration in UL, discussed the need for active policies and resources to support community work and community development to achieve the ideal of inclusive communities.
Speaking at the event, Jerry Murphy Pobal Deputy CEO said, “communities are at the centre of what Pobal was set up to do so we are delighted to be out meeting so many local groups through our Regional Seminar events. In 2016 we held a conference, ‘Creating an Inclusive Labour Market’ and these regional events are a follow on to this, exploring the current context and experience of the community and voluntary sector in promoting social inclusion. I want to thank all those that attended our seminar in Mayo, it was fantastic to see so many community groups come together to share their knowledge and passion for the sector and the community in which they work so hard”.
A number of Pobal Regional Seminars will take place over the coming months.