Community and social inclusion Sustaining active inclusion as part of community development JUNE 2011 Seamus Boland Irish Rural Link
Why Community? One generation plants the trees; the next gets the shade. (Chinese Proverb) This is the duty of our generation as we enter the twenty-first century: -- solidarity with the weak, the persecuted, the lonely, the sick, and those in despair. It is expressed by the desire to give a noble and humanizing meaning to a community in which all members will define themselves not by their own identity but by that of others (Elie Wiesel Holocaust survivor)
Social ExclusionA process whereby certain groups are pushed to the margins of society and prevented from participating fully by virtue of their poverty, experience of discrimination, marginalisation within society.
Social Inclusion Ensuring the marginalised and those living in poverty have greater participation in decision making which affects their lives. Allowing them to improve their living standards and their overall well-being.
Who? Groups who visibly fit into this category include Travellers, migrants, people isolated by virtue of distance, very poor education, disability, age, caring responsibilities.
Well Being (NESC 2009) Person’s well-being relates to their physical, social and mental state. It requires that basic needs are met. That people have a sense of purpose, that they feel able to achieve important goals,to participate in society and to live the lives they value and have reason to value.
How it is achieved (NESC 2009) Is enhanced by conditions that include financial and personal security, meaningful and rewarding work, supportive personal relationships, strong and inclusive communities, good health, a healthy and attractive environment, and values of democracy and social justice.
Social inclusion Promotion: Theexperience. Many rights under the heading Equality have been earned through the courts in Brussels. Social inclusionists tend to use high powered language and some times can be seen as preachy or Political correctness gone mad Communities may sometimes resist the concept
Social inclusion Promotion: Theexperience. When a child of nine observes that “most of my relations never get a job interview because the use this address (associated with high disadvantage) or A Traveller family does not do mainstream education because they are seen as different or A family does not participate in community activities, sports etc because of poverty
Social inclusion Promotion: Theexperience A youth club cannot be formed because the hall committee believe it would be a risk to hall itself Older people living alone without access to transport cannot participate in local events Community plans are decided by those who turn up.
Participation Social inclusion does not happen unless there is a blue print for full participation by all in the community. Barriers perceived or otherwise may exist and must be removed. Then freedom not to participate is acceptable.
Participation Participation in the decision making process by the ‘Community sector is new and is largely associated with participation in the National social partnership process. There is the county forums and a range of agencies which allow community access. But there is no blueprint for participation
Participation issues Training for participation is ad hoc and scattered. In the nineties training came through a number of FAS programmes. Later the Partnerships and Leader would provide training. The decline in community funded programmes will diminish the resources necessary to provide training.
Solutions The implementation of national policies that support inclusion. The implementation of existing legislation The promotion of community participation good practice Social inclusion is built in to community planning Independent resourcing of organisations dedicated to social inclusion promotion
Questions What would be a good test of social inclusion in a community? How can you work to ensure that a community plan is fair to everybody Do we need to be told by funders or people in power how to be fair to one another? Is inclusion only on our group’s agenda because of funding.
Finally…….. This is the duty of our generation as we enter the twenty-first century: -- solidarity with the weak, the persecuted, the lonely, the sick, and those in despair. It is expressed by the desire to give a noble and humanizing meaning to a community in which all members will define themselves not by their own identity but by that of others (Elie Wiesel Holocaust survivor) Seamus Boland Irish Rural Link