Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath, joined Minister of State with responsibility for Community Development and Charities, Joe O’Brien, to launch the ‘Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP) Annual Report 2021’ at the Mansion House in Dublin.
It currently employs approximately 600 community workers across Ireland working to reduce poverty and promote social inclusion and equality through local engagement and partnerships between disadvantaged individuals, community organisations and public sector agencies.
The Programme was recently awarded the prestigious UN Award for Public Service during COVID.
A ‘Learning Brief’ which examines the different experiences of men and women who have been supported by the programme was also launched today.
The SICAP 2021 Annual Report highlights the vital importance of the Programme in addressing inequality and improving outcomes for the most disadvantaged groups and individuals in the country.
In 2021, 2,646 Local Community Groups and 26,483 individuals were supported by the programme.
The report also acknowledges the role of the Local Development Companies (LDCs) and Local Community Development Committees (LCDCs) who deliver the Programme at County and local area level.
Speaking at the launch Lord Mayor of Dublin Caroline Conroy said, “I am delighted to welcome colleagues and friends from Dublin’s community and local development sector who partner with Dublin City Council in delivering the Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP). It’s success is attributable to the hard work and commitment of all delivery partners working at local and central government and especially to the programme participants themselves.”
“We are busy in July expanding SICAP actions across Dublin to include dedicated service responses to meet the needs of recently arrived Ukrainian refugees. This effort supports our wider Community Forum response in helping meet presenting and urgent needs. I want to thank our Local Community Development Committee (LCDC) and its staff team for their ongoing and important work overseeing all aspects of SICAP in Dublin and ensuring it has gone from strength to strength since it’s inception in 2018. SICAP is a proven success for Dublin. Going forward I support an enhanced resource commitment across its all aspexts of its delivery so that it success is maintained as SICAP continues to adapt and meet the needs of households.”
Launching the report, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath, said, “I am delighted to launch the SICAP Annual Report here in the Mansion House. This report clearly shows the importance of the Programme in addressing inequality and improving outcomes for the most disadvantaged groups and individuals in the country.”
“I want to take this opportunity to congratulate Minister O’Brien and his department on winning the prestigious 2022 UN Public Service Award for the social inclusion programme. This international award is a wonderful acknowledgement of the immense work of the programme, particularly over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. We cannot underestimate the importance of this programme and its impact in communities around the country.”
Minister O’Brien said, “I am very pleased to have Minister McGrath join me to help raise awareness of the important work of SICAP. This programme is the State’s primary social inclusion tool and in addition to working daily to target poverty and disadvantage, the programme workers were also hugely responsive to both the COVID-19 crisis and more recently the Ukrainian crisis.”
“Minister McGrath’s presence here is testament to this programme’s importance in overall government policy and I am delighted that last year’s Budget provided significant additional funding to SICAP in recognition of that important role it plays in communities across Ireland.”
The government’s Social Inclusion Progress Report was researched, written and produced by Pobal who administer the Programme on behalf of the Department of Rural and Community Development.
Pobal’s CEO, Anna Shakespeare, said, “Pobal is very pleased to work with and on behalf of the Department of Rural and Community Development (DRCD), the Local Community Development Committees (LCDCs), Local Development Companies (LDCs) and other stakeholders towards a common aim of reducing disadvantage, poverty and promoting greater social inclusion and equality.”
“I very much welcome the launch of a ‘Learning Brief’ produced by Pobal which is the first detailed gender analysis of the Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP). It analyses and compares the different experiences of men and women, who have engaged with the Programme. It is important to understand these differences, what drives them and to examine what can be done to address the existing barriers.”