Initiative: Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP)
Institution: Department of Rural and Community Development
Problem: There was a need to reduce poverty and promote social inclusion and equality in Ireland.
Solution: The Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP) provides funding to tackle poverty and social exclusion through local engagement and partnerships between disadvantaged individuals, community organizations and public sector agencies. The initiative supports communities to engage with relevant stakeholders in identifying and addressing social exclusion and equality issues. It primarily focuses on (1) promoting an equality framework with a particular focus on gender equality and anti-discrimination practices; (2) applying community development approaches to achieve the participation of disadvantaged and marginalized communities; and (3) developing collaborative approaches to improve how policies and programmes are delivered to make a most positive impact on the socially excluded. In 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the programme focused on addressing new needs faced by the beneficiaries, especially in areas of food security, mental health and digital exclusion.
Impact: In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the programme was focused to address three particular areas of food security, mental health and digital exclusion. The programme increased access to food through local production and sale of fresh produce (e.g. farmers' market project, polytunnel project), local mental health supports in local ‘Crisis Cafés and access to digital services that had moved online, including education and social services by assigning a caseworker to disadvantaged children and families to develop bespoke plans, tailored to individual needs, including access to laptops, broadband and/or digital literacy training.