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Westmeath Community Development provide a 1 to 1 advice and guidance service to budding entrepreneurs in the following areas:
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- Entreprise Concepts
- Business Basics
- Personal Preparation
- Sales and Marketing
- Marketing – Product Place and Research
- Marketing – Price and Promotion
- Finance Matters
- Business Planning
- Profit & Loss Accounts
- Outline Business Plans
- Registration and Compliance
- VAT, PAYE, PRSI
WCDL will continue to strive to work with communities in 2009. Working from the principal that community development comprises both a task and a process. The Task is the achievement of social change linked to equality and social justice and the process are the principles of empowerment, participation and collective decision making, in a structured and co-ordinated way. WCDL work on the basis that there are 3 stages in the community development process. Stage 1 is the pre-development, stage 2 is building community capacity and stage 3 is working in a policy context at local regional and national level.
WCDL work with both issue based groups such as disability, equality for women, travellers, non national communities and geographical communities with the priority being communities which are classified as in need of most support such as social housing estates both in Athlone and Mullingar. It is recognised that using a community development approach can lead to other objectives of the LDSIP being met such as helping to support people into training ,education and the labour market.
In 2009 the LDSIP Staff and those employed under the National Rural Development programme will be working more closely together so that rural communities facing social exclusion can be supported and a more socially inclusive strategy can be devised for both rural and urban areas.
The LDSIP plan for 2009 has been submitted to POBAL and is awaiting approval. If anyone would like a copy of the plan please contact Linda-Jo Quinn from the details below.
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Educational disadvantage in Ireland refers to the situation where some individuals derive less benefit from the education system than their peers. The refers to educational disadvantage as
“the impediments to education arising from social or economic disadvantage which prevent students from deriving appropriate benefit from education in schools”.
Educational disadvantage is demonstrated in many ways, most often in poor levels of participation and achievement in the formal education system. WCDL has a range programmes in place to address educational disadvantage throughout the County, all projects target children who are experiencing educational disadvantage. The supports are offered to both the :-
- Formal Education System (schools, colleges etc.)
- In formalEducation system (Youth projects, special out-of-school projects, community projects, etc)
Priority is given to projects which demonstrate significant levels of disadvantage e.g. schools with DEIS status, School Completion, Special projects for Disadvantaged youths (SPY)
All the projects are aimed at facilitating the educational, personal development and socialeducation of young people at risk early school leaving, social exclusion or potential welfare recipients.
For further information: Caroline Lambden, Education Coordinator
Or Caroline Moran, Development Officer.
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This working group has been in operation for a number of years and is chaired by Mr Hugh McGuire who is a Board member of WCDL.The members comprise a mixture of service providers such as PWDI,HSE, National Learning Network, Irish Wheelchair Association, Westmeath County Council, DSFA, Citizens Information Service etc and service users as it is extremely important to ensure that people with disabilities are included in policy making.
Disability is a very complex area of work and it cuts across all 3 measures of the LDSIP, which are Services to the Unemployed, Community Development and Community Based Youth Initiatives. Issues such as access to buildings is hugely important as well as having information in various formats which people can easily access such as audio, visual, Braille etc.
The Disability Act 2005 is a policy document which the Disability Working Group use as a tool to measure if organisations are doing what they are supposed to as laid down by the ACT.A close working relationship is ongoing with the Access Officer of Westmeath County Council to ensure that the Council are complying with the Disability Act in areas of its work. Simultaneously a close working relationship is developing with Department of Social and Family Affairs who manage the Disability Activation project in Westmeath. This project is identifying and addressing barriers which are preventing people from accessing training, education and employment and is currently working on developing tailored made courses to suit participants.
In 2009 WCDL will be committed to disability proofing all its work. Once completed this will have positive effects for all WCDL projects, whilst it is envisaged many challenges will emerge as a result of this work .This is currently being planned at the moment and the first step in the process will be disability awareness training for Board, Management and staff. Working from a social model of disability which is of the view that it is actually society that dis-ables people it is hoped WCDL will have a greater understanding of the complex area of disability and be in a better position to support the advocacy role the disability working group has ,in relation to identifying and addressing barriers that people with disabilities face in their daily living. A simple example is ensuring a photocopier is accessible for use by a person who is a wheelchair user as opposed to having to ask someone to photocopy a document for them.
Changing the way society views disability will go along way to making improvements and WCDL Disability Working Group under the leadership of Mr Hugh McGuire will be working very hard to achieve this in 2009 and beyond. The disability working group have approved disability proofing training for management and staff of WCDL. Members of the disability working group have also been invited to participate. It is likely the 2 day training course will take place in June. Full details to follow shortly.The group are also exploring the possibility of organizing another disability showcase event in the autumn and are researching the possibility of organizing workshops in specialist areas such as sexual health- funding permitting.For further information on work in this area please contact
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Revitalising Areas Through Planning, Investment and Development
The RAPID Programme is a focused Government response aimed at helping communities living in areas, which have not fully shared in the prosperity of the country over the last number of years.
It is a three-year programme and its purpose is to ensure that:
- Designated areas are prioritised for resources and investment at a national level (with other RAPID areas)
- Designated areas are prioritised for resources and support at a local level by the organisations working in the area
- Services delivered to the areas are co-ordinated
- Residents in the areas work with agencies and organisations in the delivery of services and investment into their areas
The RAPID Programme in Athlone was launched during the summer of 2002, under the auspices of the Community and Enterprise Section of Westmeath County Council and under the direction of a dedicated Co-ordinator appointed by the Council.
It is implemented locally by an Area Implementation Team (AIT) involving representatives of the main organisations working in Athlone and representatives of a residents’ working group (RWG) drawn from the six designated residential areas in Athlone, listed as follows: Battery Heights, St. Mel’s Terrace, Blackberry Lane, Ashdale/Woodland Grove, Sarsfield Square and Monksland (Cedarwood Drive).
The Programme is monitored locally by the Westmeath County Development Board Social Inclusion Measures’ (SIM) Working Group.
As part of the consultation process in relation to needs in the RAPID areas, residents and youth organisations identified a lack of organised activities for young people and problems in relation to anti-social behaviour as well as a lack of resources for youth work.
In addition, the lack of indoor and outdoor facilities is also a problem in a number of the areas while the problem of under-utilised facilities was also highlighted. The provision of new facilities under the RAPID Programme will create opportunities for the development of sporting activities.
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Tel: (090) 642100/42113
Since September 2007 WCDL became the management sponsor for the Traveller project under the Community Development Measure of the LDSIP. The company now employs two staff dedicated to working with the Travelling community in Westmeath. These posts are funded through the Traveller Health Unit of the HSE.
Community Development Worker
The aim of this post is to build up the capacity of Travellers so they can be included in decision making structures on issues that affect their lives. Setting up of women’s groups and residents groups are central to progress in this area and work has started in relation to this.
Community Development Health Worker
The aim of this post is to improve the health status of Travellers in the County. The All Ireland Traveller Health Study has just been completed which involved peer researchers from the Travelling community being trained to carry out the work. The findings of this study are currently being compiled and the outcome will inform future policy in relation to Traveller health. The census part of the traveller health study has now been completed in Westmeath.
Whilst the Traveller project sits under the Community Development measure of the LDSIP it is planned to also look at education and employment/training so this project will cut across all 3 measures of the LDSIP.
For further information contact the following:
Caroline Nevin or Chrsitine Joyce, Community Development Health Workers,