Celebrating diversity and social inclusion with Westmeath Community Development
On Tuesday 26th February 2019, Westmeath Community Development welcomed Minister of State for Equality, Immigration and Integration, at the Department of Justice and Equality, David Stanton TD, to its Athlone offices.
The visit was in recognition of the successful integration and support services offered to refugees in the county by Westmeath Community Development (WCD) including the Dormant Accounts Fund (DAF) & the Resettlement Programme.
The DAF programme (measure 4 of the Dormant Accounts Fund administered by Pobal), is a pre-activation initiative that supports female refugees with training and employment support. Since 2018 more than 31 women have successfully passed through the programme accessing important services such as language classes, and training and employment services. Almost 30% of participants have since progressed to employment and self-employment opportunities.
The Resettlement Programme supports Syrian Refugees to integrate and participate in community life. Currently fifteen families (73 people) have been resettled to Mullingar with ten of these families (47 people) having completed one-year period on the programme.
During the visit, Minister Stanton met with women and their families who shared their stories and experiences of coming to Ireland, highlighting how support services are critical for them and their family to integrate.
WCD’s CEO, Frank Murtagh highlighted the value of such visits, stating
‘We are delighted that Minister Stanton has joined us today here in Athlone to recognise and celebrate the great work that is happening throughout the county to welcome refugees into our communities and more importantly to support vital services that enables greater integration and inclusion. WCD is proud to deliver these services that make such a positive contribution to the lives of families who have moved to Ireland, often as a result of very difficult circumstances in their home country’.
WCD provides various employment and training supports to refugees including QQI and labour market training supports such as Care skills, HACCP, Special Needs Assistance, Disability Studies, cookery courses, horticultural training and many more.
For further information on programmes and services please contact Tricia McKenna, Employment Coordinator in our Mullingar office - TMcKenna@Westcd.ie / 044 934 8571.
Minister David Stanton (centre) pictured with Westmeath Community Development staff in Athlone (from left) Frank Murtagh (CEO), Jurgita Buciene, Sarah McGeough, Patricia McKenna, Roma Cleary, Maria Boyce, Sinead Broughal and Nade Briek.