Joe O’Brien, TD, Minister for Community Development and Charities has (Sunday, 30 May) launched a social media video campaign aimed at highlighting the role played by the Social Inclusion Community Activation Programme (SICAP) during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. This campaign, entitled #SicapStories, consists of a series of short videos which draws attention to how communities and individuals benefited from the support of SICAP as the COVID-9 pandemic unfolded.
SICAP works to tackle disadvantage in communities across Ireland. The programme has supported community groups as they work within their communities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. #SicapStories highlights this important work and the changes these groups have made within their communities. Local Development Companies administer SICAP on behalf of the Department.
Launching the campaign, Minister O’Brien said:
“SICAP Stories shines a light on how communities with a need were supported in the depths of a global emergency. This support was provided by Community Groups, Local Development Companies, City and County Councils, Local Community Development Committees, Pobal and my Department. These stories are of volunteerism and community in every sense of the word.
“SICAP does vital work in helping individuals and groups, by improving the life chances of those who are marginalised in society, living in poverty or unemployed. Since 2018, the programme has supported over 80,000 individuals and 6,219 local community groups.”
During 2020 SICAP provided supports to 448 social enterprises. This support included business plan development, governance and financial advice. The benefits of this is showcased in the story which features The Ballina Costume Company. In addition, SICAP supports collective community engagement and the development of more sustainable and stronger communities. This improves the quality of life of those facing social exclusion and inequality.
Commenting on the #SicapStories campaign the Minister said:
“SICAP provided the tools to communities to meet the challenges of the pandemic head-on. It has assisted 26,000 people through supports for the elderly, help with food essential supplies, bridging digital divide or finding work and creating jobs.”