Enabling inclusive communities: achievements, challenges, future directions
 
Thursday 15 March 2018:  Community and local development groups from Tallaght attended a seminar on promoting social inclusion in communities on Friday 9th March in Rialto, Dublin 8. Hosted by Pobal, who work on behalf of Government to support communities, the seminar was an opportunity for community groups to reflect on future challenges to address social exclusion and poverty in a local and regional context.
 
Over 80 representatives from community groups in Dublin attended the seminar. Speakers included Denis Leamy, Pobal CEO; Paul Skinnader, Pobal Executive Director; Bríd O’Brien, Head of Policy at the Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed (INOU); and Dr Chris McInerney, Department of Politics and Public Administration UL. 
 
The seminar discussed the vital role the sector plays in enabling inclusive communities in a changed and diverse environment. Operating in an evolving regulatory landscape, the need to deepen capacity and governance within the sector emerged, with recognition of the support needed to achieve this aim. The importance of co-ordination within the sector, at local, regional and national level, to avoid duplication of effort and intervention is the responsibility of all those working in the sector.
 
Bríd O’Brien from the Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed spoke about enabling inclusive communities,promoting equality of opportunity within society particularly among those who are unemployed.
 
Looking at the wider challenges for the state, Dr Chris McInerney of the Department of Politics and Administration in UL, discussed the need for active policies and resources to support community work and community development to achieve the ideal of inclusive communities. 
 
Speaking at the event, Denis Leamy Pobal CEO said, “communities are at the centre of what Pobal was set up to do so we are delighted to be out meeting so many local groups through our Regional Seminar events. In 2016 we held a conference, ‘Creating an Inclusive Labour Market’ and these regional events are a follow on to this, exploring the current context and experience of the community and voluntary sector in promoting social inclusion. I want to thank all those that attended our seminar in Dublin, it was fantastic to see so many community groups come together to share their knowledge and passion for the sector and the community in which they work so hard.”
 
A number of Pobal Regional Seminars will take place over the coming months.