SG3: Contribute to the goal of vulnerable migrants becoming full members of Irish society through dismantling barriers to integration
This strategic goal has been identified by trustees but no funding is yet available for its full implementation. Trustees believe the following changes need to take place to contribute to the goal of vulnerable migrants becoming full members of Irish society:
- A more humane asylum system exists.
- There are more effective community-led approaches to the integration of vulnerable migrants.
- A stronger migrant voice, which includes those in the protection system.
The strategy will be to support: 1) work that uses knowledge to improve practice so evidence can be provided for policy change and 2) knowledge or research developed for effective advocacy that leads directly to policy change. While programme funding is being sought, SSGT will continue to implement two current programmes.
SG3.1 Direct Provision Centre Activities for Children (2018-2020)
In late 2014, SSGT developed a small grant programme to allow children living in Direct Provision Centres take part in community, sporting and cultural activities along with their peers in the community. Almost €270,000 was granted over the past 4 years to about 13 local voluntary organisations who facilitate access to the activities. The fund operates through grassroots and voluntary groups with a track record of supporting people living in Direct Provision. The fund is limited to one extracurricular activity per child at a time. Priority is given to geographically isolated Centres which with little other support or access to activities.
The grant programme will continue to 2020 with funds from a range of SSGT donors. This is a learning programme and there will be periodic impact reports to gather evidence of the benefits to children living in Direct Provision. An exit strategy will be developed over the three years starting with SSGT commissioning an options paper to determine how best to get long term impact for the grant programme.
More information here.
SG3.2 Refugee Support Grant Programme (2016-2019)
There is no open grant round for this programme – final grants have been made and the grant programme will be complete in 2019 following which a final report will be published.
An interim report was published in November 2018 and is available on the grant programme reports page here.
The grant programme focused on different aspects of support for people leaving Direct Provision Centres having received refugee status, leave to remain or subsidiary protection. Currently there is no national support programme for this group and at November 2018 there were 620 people living in DP with protection status. It is hoped the learning from the programme will contribute to the knowledge required to develop an appropriate programme. As part of the grant programme, funded organisations meet twice yearly to network and to share practices and experiences with other participants and to use the collective work and achievements to influence public policy and practice. This formative evaluative approach reflects on what works, barriers to effective working and how to overcome the challenges.
Elements of the programme include multiannual grants, six monthly Learning Network meetings with grantees and an external formative evaluation. A participatory approach to evaluation design was used and the five outcomes identified were:
- people transitioning from direct provision obtain the services and supports they need to gain confidence and to live independently;
- people transitioning from direct provision have increased involvement in and relationships with their local communities and wider society;
- through engagement with projects, policy makers and service providers have more awareness of needs and how these can best be met;
- an evidence base of effective measures and policy developments required to meet the support needs of people transitioning from direct provision and/or effective approaches to long-term integration; and
- improved services and policies at a local and national level from statutory agencies and service providers.
The programme allocated €100,000 a year in grants for three years. The eight organisations funded over three years were:
* Click tabs below to read the action areas in more detail – Click tab again to close.
Co Kildare Leader Partnership
Project Name: Positive Transition Project
Geographical Area: Kildare
County Kildare LEADER Partnership have recruited an Integration Project Worker to implement the work plan in conjunction with the Kildare Integration Strategy – Implementation Group. The Integration Project Worker works on a 1:1 basis with individuals and families prior to and during their transition from Direct Provision to accommodation in County Kildare. The caseload for the Integration Project Worker is based on the number of people/families who have received their Status letter. Since commencing the position in January 2017 the Integration Project Worker is supporting 13 individuals/families, 4 of whom have left Direct Provision. The Integration Project Worker supports and accompanies individuals to apply for and to access services such as Immigration, Social Welfare, Housing and Education. The Integration Project worker has also liaised, and will continue to liaise with the Department of Social Protection and Kildare County Council – Housing Unit to address obstacles to transition. Part of the implementation of the Kildare Integration Strategy in 2017 has involved meeting with the Department Social Protection (DSP) – Area Manager, Community Welfare Officer and the Case Officer who represents the DSP on the Kildare Integration Strategy.
Cultúr Migrants Centre
Project Name: Moving On Project
Geographical Area: Meath
The overall aim of the project would be to ensure that people transitioning into the community are supported to participate equally and be socially included in their community from DP to independent living using a community work model. We want to address two areas: 1) to develop and coordinate a resettlement support model for those leaving direct provision with a focus on key areas such as accommodation, social welfare, education and access to health services and 2) to ensure that those affected are part of designing and deciding on what supports they need.
Project Name: Transition from Direct Provision to the Community
Geographical Area: Sligo
Diversity Sligo is running a programme of Transition from Direct Provision to the Community for residents of the accommodation centre who have obtained status. The dedicated Integration Support Worker’s duties are to secure accommodation, prevent misunderstandings when applying for benefits and services, assist in filling in forms when necessary, assist in setting up house, inform refugees about their rights and responsibilities, empower refugees to make decisions for themselves and progress in their integration into Irish society. There will be information given on Irish culture and customs, the role of men and women, bringing up children, education, living in the community, maintaining one’s own culture, volunteering and services that may help further. Refugees will be more independent and able to assume their roles as citizens, parents, workers/colleagues, residents of a community and we hope to prevent refugees and their children from having to resort to services such as child protection or mental health services. We are working in partnership with Tusla, the Home Youth Liaison Service, the Sligo Family Resource Centre, the County Sligo Childcare Committee, the Sligo LEADER Partnership, Focus Ireland Sligo, Bridgestock who run the accommodation centre, the Sligo Volunteer Centre, the Avalon Youth Centre, the Sligo Sports and Recreation Partnership and Mayo/Sligo/Leitrim ETB.
Project Name: Refugee Advocacy & Integration Support Mentoring Programme
Geographical Area: Limerick
Doras Luimní wish to create and develop a sustainable and community-based support service that assists people who have lived in Direct Provision and are currently moving to or have moved to independent accommodation. In particular we hope to develop a network of volunteer community mentors who actively support the integration of former asylum seekers through informal meetings/ outings and offers of assistance with relevant issues. The project seeks to ensure effective integration into the local community, assist with sustaining tenancies in independent accommodation; informal support with navigating the social welfare and housing systems; encourage and assist with access to education, sport, social activities and employment. Doras will produce a training programme & manual for volunteer mentors to enable them to fulfil the role for this project. In recruiting and developing a network of volunteer mentors from the local community, support services for the target group will extend beyond the work of Doras Luimní and will see greater participation from the wider community and among local service providers. Mentors and participants will attend regular supervision meetings and will be supported by Doras Luimní staff to ensure effective delivery of the project goals and to retain commitment to the programme. The informal support and contacts made through mentoring programmes, as evidenced in research and evaluations of similar programmes, suggest that the development of local and community-based mentoring networks lead to the formation of long-lasting relationships that can go some way towards meeting the information and social needs of refugees who have limited social support networks.
Jesuit Refugee Service Ireland
Project Name: PATHS Project
Geographical Area: Nationwide
The PATHS Project will seek to assist persons granted status/leave to remain to exit Direct Provision in a timely manner by facilitating access to appropriate accommodation options and the provision of comprehensive integration (education, employment, psychosocial, links to the community) supports throughout the transition process and beyond. It aims to gather evidence to inform the development of a more equitable and sustainable model of integration for all persons granted international protection/leave to remain and consequently to improve overall integration outcomes for the country as a whole. The PATHS Project will be jointly delivered by JRS Ireland and the Peter McVerry Trust (PMVT), drawing on their respective experiences and capacities in homelessness and in asylum and migration.
Laois Partnership Company
Project Name: Transition from Direct Provision
Geographical Area: Laois
Laois Partnership Co, in conjunction with Doras Luimní, will provide an advice service to the residents of the Montague DP Centre to help streamline the move from direct provision to independent living in the community. A part-time worker will be appointed to provide direct practical support for those who were recently granted refugee status. The worker will support residents at every step of their journey from supporting people access housing, registering for their GNIB card, applying for child-benefit (where applicable), registering on the Council housing list, applying for social welfare payments, securing deposit, accessing local services including volunteering, employment, education, enterprise and others. Each resident will have a Resettlement, Integration and Capacity Building Plan. A hardship revolving loan fund will be available to further support clients who have difficulty accessing deposits, paying bus fares, or purchasing essential items. We anticipate that, over the year, we will support 30 people exit direct provision. Laois Partnership Co. is the local development company for Co Laois and delivers a large number of programmes on behalf of the State and the European Union including the Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP) and the LEADER Programme. Doras Luimní is one of the leading specialist migrant NGOs in Ireland and has a proven track record in delivering on impact in Limerick, Portlaoise and nationally.
NASC, the Irish Immigrant Support Centre
Project Name: Family Reunification – Securing integration for refugees and persons eligible for subsidiary protection
Geographical Area: Munster
Nasc’s project will support refugees and people who have been granted subsidiary protection to bring their families to Ireland. Our experience dictates that family reunification is one of the primary concerns of refugees and those with subsidiary protection once they have been granted status in Ireland. Additionally, Family Reunification is the cornerstone of effective integration. We will do this by providing an expert frontline information and advice information and advice service targeted at newly declared refugees. This work will be frontloaded initially, as The International Protection Act 2015, which has been signed into law and commenced in December 2016, will severely limit the rights of refugees to family reunification. We will seek to submit as many applications as possible under the old Act, ensuring that the maximum number of refugees will have an opportunity to submit applications for extended family members before the new law comes in. Our priority here will be to work with people whose family members are at risk due to war and conflict. The change in the law will, in our view, act as a clear barrier to both the effective transition to life outside Direct Provision and will negatively impact on the long-term integration prospects of refugees. We will also seek to address this by using the evidence base from our service to advocate for a change in law and policy. This is a long-term objective.
South West Mayo Development Company
Website: southmayo.com, miamayo.ie
Project Name: From Direct Provision to Independent Living
Geographical Area: Mayo
The project will be delivered by Mayo Intercultural Action, the project of South West Mayo Development Company. It will address the existing gaps in supports to people moving from the direct provision centre in Ballyhaunis, County Mayo, and to former direct provision residents recently settled in Co Mayo. Firstly, the project seeks to deliver enabled, informed and supported transition to independent living and increased access of the beneficiaries to mainstream supports in the county in relation to housing, employment, training, education, welfare, childcare, driving, health, family, etc. Secondly, the project aims to enhance social inclusion and connect beneficiaries with local community groups, clubs, volunteering opportunities, events and initiatives, as appropriate. Simultaneously, we expect to raise local awareness of the social needs of refugees and to enable welcoming community responses and integration opportunities for the group. Finally, the project will engage statutory agencies and front-line services to facilitate their learning of the specific needs of refugees and to inform local practices and responses. We plan to utilise the existing networks and other available avenues to raise awareness, influence policy and facilitate opportunities for giving voice to the beneficiaries at the appropriate platforms. Mayo Intercultural Action merged with South West Mayo Development Company in October 2016. MIA has a strong track record of delivering capacity building and integration projects for migrants, asylum seekers and refugees in county Mayo for over 10 years.
The Refugee Support Grants Programme is funded by Porticus UK and the Daughters of the Cross of Liege.