One of the most pressing issues addressed by Co-op members is the shocking and persistent levels of child and family poverty and social exclusion. The extent of this issue has become even more evident during the Covid-19 epidemic. This crisis has underscored the deep-seated inequalities that persist in our society and has highlighted the importance of putting children at the heart of building a fairer and more inclusive and sustainable society as we emerge from the pandemic. However, if as a society we are finally to face up to the challenge of ensuring that we cherish all our children equally, then we must start by listening to the experience of children and their families experiencing poverty and social exclusion and those working with them on the ground. The fourteen stories in this publication do just that. They are pen pictures of the lived experience of some of the most vulnerable children and families in the communities in which Co-op members work. We hope that in publishing these powerful stories we will increase public and political awareness of the need to intensify all our efforts to support children in vulnerable situations and to end child poverty and social exclusion.
Dublin City Community Co-operative (the Co-op) www.dublicncitycommunitycoop.ie has secured funding from the HSE and the North East Inner City (NEIC) Initiative for the Healthy Communities Project. This project aims to tackle health inequalities in the north east inner city of Dublin by building the capacity of the community to address health issues affecting them.
Social Prescribing is a key element of this project and recognises the importance of non-medical supports to address the health and mental health needs of those who face illnesses such as depression, anxiety or social isolation. Social Prescribing is a means of supporting Health Care Professionals (GP’s, Primary Care Professionals) to refer people to a range of local and non-clinical/non-medical community, voluntary, recreational and sporting services to support positive health and wellbeing.
As part of the project the Co-op is implementing an evaluation and monitoring process with the objective of understanding the impact of Social Prescribing, as well as collecting more comprehensive data on the NEIC area. As part of the evaluation process, it is important to gather baseline data at the start of the project in order to determine prior knowledge of Social Prescribing as well as interest in engaging with the Healthy Communities Project. The Co-op will be supported in this process by TASC, a specialist research organisation and independent think-tank whose mission is to address inequality and poverty by translating research into action.
In addition to social prescribing the Healthy Communities Project will be running a number of trainings for residents of the NEIC in areas such as We Can Quit Smoking, Healthy Food Made Easy, Stress Control and Wellbeing. The project will also be working very closely with the National Screening Service and the National Immunisation Programme.
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