*Back Row: Mary McGann Administrative Officer, Jacqueline Carroll Director of Services, Kieran Coyne Senior Executive Officer – Galway County Council Community & Rural Development Directorate. Front Row: Liam Conneally, Chief Executive Galway County Council; Cllr. Noel Thomas, Chairperson Galway County LCDC; Karen Mannion, CEO Forum Connemara; Melissa Wallace, Chief Financial Officer Forum Connemara. Photo Mike Shaughnessy.

CONTRACTS for the delivery of the new €9m Social Inclusion & Community Activation Programme (SICAP) 2024-2028 in County Galway have been officially signed.

As per the contracts, there will be a combined budget for SICAP in County Galway of almost €1.8m per year across the five years of the programme, which will be implemented across Galway West by Forum Connemara CLG and in Galway East and Galway Islands by Galway Rural Development CLG.

SICAP is Ireland’s primary social inclusion programme and is funded by the Department of Rural and Community Development through the European Social Fund and managed at local level by the Local Community Development Committee with support from Galway County Council.

It is a targeted, holistic programme for individuals who are most disadvantaged and less likely to use mainstream services. Under the programme, the Programme Implementer provides supports directly to individuals based on their identified needs, with a view to promoting personal development and progressing to longer-term outcomes such as employment and education.

The programme is expected to support over 100 community groups and over 1,000 individuals on a one-to-one basis each year in the most disadvantaged areas and communities of County Galway

Cllr. Noel Thomas (IND), Chairperson of Galway County Local Community Development Committee (LCDC) said, “SICAP is a vital scheme to improve the life chances and opportunities of those who are marginalised in society. The LCDC’s role is to coordinate the delivery of community development programmes and funding at local level, and I look forward to working in partnership with Galway Rural Development and Forum Connemara to enhance interagency cooperation and collaboration in the design and delivery of SICAP and other public funding programmes over the next five years”.

Liam Conneally, Chief Executive of Galway County Council welcomed the commencement of the new SICAP programme in line with the public consultation process on a new Local Economic & Community Plan (LECP) for County Galway. “It is important that the actions carried out under SICAP are in line with the LECP and this represents a key opportunity for individuals, community groups, and other stakeholders, to input into the identification of key objectives and actions to tackle poverty and promote social inclusion which will form the basis for the development of SICAP Annual Plans over the coming years,” explained Mr. Conneally. “I am confident that the delivery of the new SICAP Programme will build on the work done to date across SICAP and all LCDC public funding programmes”.

Collective community needs are focused on in the programme. The LCDC has identified ‘People living in communities impacted by Disadvantage’ as a priority target group, and the Programme Implementers will use a flexible community development approach to design and deliver the most appropriate types of interventions, projects, and initiatives to tackle poverty, high unemployment rates, and other issues associated with the most disadvantaged small areas and communities in the County. In this way, SICAP aims to reduce poverty and promote social inclusion and equality through local engagement and interagency collaboration with local, regional, and national services.

This week, the contracts for the delivery of the programme were signed by the Programme Implementers, namely Galway Rural Development CLG and Forum Connemara CLG, along with Galway County LCDC (Local Community Development Committee) and Galway County Council.

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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