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Southside Partnership — Promoting Inclusion of Ethnic Minorities

The 2011 Census found that 12.2% (25,138) of the population in Dún Laoghaire Rathdown were described as “non-Irish Nationals”.  While the majority of this group were people from the UK, this group was made up of 59 different nationalities. There were significant numbers from Poland, the Philippines and China as well as from Africa.

This case study outlines a number of specific projects that the Partnership was involved in to reach out to ethnic minorities and to promote integration.  The Partnership used the following three point approach in its work:

  1. Outreach to individuals and facilitation of people to come together in groups
  2. Training and support to groups to work together and promote collective action
  3.  Supporting representatives of minority groups to engage with decision makers on the decisions that affect them.

In all these stages, the Partnership acted as a connector, working with members of ethnic minority communities themselves as well as the agencies that provide essential services to the group.  Below are details of just some of the initiatives which Southside Partnership has played a leading role in:

Services to Refugees and Asylum Seekers – Kilmarnock House

  • In 2001 Southside Partnership secured funding from the European Refugee Fund and set up the Unite Network. The aim of the network was to ensure service providers provided a coordinated response to the needs of asylum seekers living in hostels in the County.
  • Over 50 members joined the network including key local and statutory agencies such as An Garda Síochána, DLRCC, Schools and colleges, Barnardos, VEC, HSE, Community Welfare Officer, Community Training Centre, Dún Laoghaire Refugee Project (DRP) and the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA). 
  • Between 2001 and 2005 the Unite Network provided direct support to over 300 asylum seekers in Kilmarnock House and other hostel locations.
  • Supports provided by the Unite network members included information provision, a playgroup, development work with minors, English classes and a week legal clinic.

Dun Laoghaire Refugee Project (DRP) – Monday Night Drop-In

  • The DRP set up the Monday Night Drop-In in 2005 for young people arrived in Ireland as separated children seeking asylum.
  • Southside Partnership supported DRP trough grant aid, training and technical support in developing policy and procedures for working with young people.
  • Today DRP continues to provide advocacy, education and social supports to over 60 young adults each week..

World Refugee Day

  • Over the past 7 years Southside Partnership has worked in partnership with the Dún Laoghaire Refugee Project, Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art and Design and the Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council Social Inclusion Unit to host an event to mark World Refugee Day.
  • The aim of the event is to focus on the positive contributions of ethnic minorities in the County and society and always draws a large number of people (200 people in 2012).

Dún Laoghaire Rathdown Anti-Racism and Diversity Plan (ARD)

Southside Partnership played a central leadership role in the development of an Anti-Racism and Diversity Plan in 2006 for the County. Southside Partnership was also responsible for the delivery of a number of actions under this plan including:

  • Funding for the employment of Housing Advocacy worker for Southside Travellers
  • Provision of Anti-Racism training in the community
  • A digital media project in secondary schools to promote the positive contributions of ethnic minorities in the media.

Ethnic Minority Integration Forum

  • In 2010 SSP worked in partnership with DLRCC Social Inclusion Unit and New Communities Partnership in setting up an Ethnic Minority Integration Forum. The Forum has 20 members and its aim is to ensure that the plans of its membership reflect the social, cultural and economic needs of ethnic minority communities in the County.  
  • Southside Partnership has provided training and development to members of the Forum as well as meeting space and use of address for all correspondence.
  • The Forum has representatives from Asia, the Congo, Algeria, Nigeria, India, Ghana, Cameroon, Poland and Morocco. The Forum formally requested technical and development support from SSP.

County Integration Plan

  • In 2010 Southside Partnership worked with other agencies including the DLRCC Social Inclusion Unit, Dún Laoghaire Refugee Project, HSE, DLR Ethnic Minority Integration Forum, Southside Travellers, Citizens Information Service, New Communities Partnership and the European Foundation to develop an Integration Plan for the County (2011-2015). 
  • To inform the plan the steering group organised and facilitated Café style conversations with over 100 ethnic minorities living in the County. These conversations were well attended by the Muslim community and more opportunities for conversations were requested.
  • The plan has been launched and Southside Partnership has a leading role on the Implementation Group which will oversee the implementation of the plan.

International Women’s Breakfast Series

  • This project aims to promote intercultural understanding and cooperation among Women in Dún Laoghaire Rathdown through the hosting of a series of International Women’s Breakfasts and the development of a website providing an information point for women on services, training and domestic violence supports.
  • It will also provide an opportunity for women from diverse backgrounds to engage with each other.  The project aims to tackle gender inequality by supporting Immigrant Women and others experiencing social exclusion to become involved in their own local community.

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