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Welcome to Dublin City Community Coop’s Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP) page.

What is SICAP?

The Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP) 2024–2028 provides funding to tackle poverty and social exclusion at a local level through local engagement and partnerships between disadvantaged individuals, community organisations and public sector agencies. SICAP 2024–2028 is the successor programme to SICAP 2018–2023. SICAP is a social inclusion programme which assists both individuals and groups through a two-pronged approach; supporting communities and supporting individuals.

The task of Programme Implementers (PIs) such as Dublin City Community Co-op is to reflect the broad scope of the programme in their actions and use programme funding to strengthen communities and improve people’s lives. SICAP aims to address high and persistent levels of deprivation through targeted and innovative, locally led approaches. It targets and supports those who are disadvantaged in Irish society and less likely to use mainstream services.

PIs such as Dublin City Community Co-op engage with marginalised communities and service providers using a community development approach to address issues relating to social exclusion and inequality. It enables bottom-up approaches within the framework of a national programme which provides targets, performance indicators and requirements. Dublin City Community Co-op is an experienced SICAP Programme Implementer having successfully implemented the SICAP Programme during the years 2015-2017 (the first SICAP Programme) and 2018-2023 in Dublin’s Inner City Lot area. Dublin City Community Co-op is once again the inner city SICAP Programme Implementer for the years 2024-2028 (the third SICAP Programme).

Programme Details

Delivery Structure

SICAP is managed locally by 33 Local Community Development Committees (LCDCs) with support from Local Authorities. Programme actions are delivered by PIs, of which Dublin City Community Co-op is one, across 53contract areas/Lots


SICAP operates from 1st January 2024 to 31st December 2028. The LCDC reserves the right to extend SICAP for up to 12 months (with a maximum of one such extension) on the same terms and conditions, subject to their legal obligations and subject to approval from the Department of Rural and Community Development (DRCD).


Administered by Pobal, SICAP 2024-2028 is co-funded by the Irish Government, through the Department of Rural and Community Development, and the European Social Fund Plus under the Employment, Inclusion, Skills, and Training (EIST) Programme 2021-2027.

Continued funding for PIs is subject to a satisfactory annual performance review. Funding levels are set annually and are subject to change.

European Social Fund Plus under the Employment, Inclusion, Skills, and Training (EIST) Programme The Employment, Inclusion, Skills and Training Programme, EIST for short, is Ireland’s ESF+ programme for the 2021 to 2027 period. It was formally approved by the European Commission in October 2022 and approved by the Government of Ireland in November 2022. The Programme involves a total investment of over €1.08 billion; €508 million from the EU and €573 million from the Government of Ireland.

EIST contains five Priorities which were developed in line with the European Piller of Social Rights, EU and national policy, and a stakeholder consultation process.

  • Employment
  • Skills and Lifelong Learning
  • Social Inclusion
  • Social Innovation
  • Assistance to the Most Deprived

Influencing Factors

The programme structure has been set by the Department of Rural and Community Development and has been influenced by a number of factors:

  • National government policy and priorities;
  • Ireland’s changing social and economic landscape, particularly reduced unemployment levels and a general economic recovery (although clearly not everyone is benefiting);
  • Learning from SICAP 2015 – 2017 (Dublin City Community Co-op implemented SICAP 2015-2017 for Dublin’s inner city area) and findings from the 2017 national consultation process which Dublin City Community Co-op actively participated in;
  • Learning from SICAP 2018 – 2023 (Dublin City Community Co-op implemented SICAP 2018-2023 for Dublin’s inner-city area) and findings from the 2022 national consultation process which Dublin City Community Co-op actively participated in
  • Findings from a series of evaluations by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) on particular SICAP components. This included an exploration of area-based training provision, an examination of SICAP goals and governance, and a spatial examination of targeting.

Social Inclusion

Social inclusion is a process which ensures that those at risk of poverty and social exclusion gain the opportunities and resources necessary to participate fully in economic, social, political and cultural life and to enjoy a standard of living that is considered normal in the society in which they live.

It ensures that they have greater participation in decision making which affects their lives and access to their fundamental rights. Social inclusion works for a fairer future that benefits everyone. SICAP supports and promotes social inclusion and inclusive development.

A UN report on the imperativeness of inclusive development presents social inclusion as “the process of improving the terms of participation in society for people who are disadvantaged on the basis of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity and economic and migration status”.  Promoting social inclusion requires both removing barriers to people’s participation, including certain laws, policies and institutions as well as discriminatory attitudes and behaviours, and taking active steps to make such participation easier.

Programme Aim

The aim of SICAP is to reduce poverty and promote social inclusion and equality in Ireland through supporting communities and individuals using community development approaches, engagement, and collaboration.


Goal 1: Contribute to Building more Sustainable, Inclusive and Empowered Communities

To empower individuals, groups of individuals, Local Community Groups and Social Enterprises to address collective community needs.

Goal 2: Empower Disadvantaged People to Improve the Quality of their Lives.

To support disadvantaged individuals, children, and families to progress their formal education and participate in lifelong learning, to progress into employment/self-employment, and to improve their soft skills and wellbeing.

Horizontal Themes

Horizontal themes are the core principles that cut across all areas of Dublin City Community Co-op’s SICAP work. SICAP is underpinned by four horizontal themes:

  • Promoting an equality framework with a particular focus on gender equality and anti-discrimination practices;
  • Applying community development approaches to achieve the participation of disadvantaged and marginalised communities in the wider local development context;
  • Developing collaborative approaches with stakeholders to improve how mainstream policies and programmes are delivered so that they impact more positively on the socially excluded.
  • Promoting Climate Justice, with a focus on facilitating a just and equitable transition to a greener economy and society.

Where can I find out more?

Read the SICAP Programme Requirements to find out more about the programme.

You can contact your Local Community Development Committee of your local authority if you wish to find out more about how SICAP is operating in your area and who the programme implementer is. Dublin City Community Co-op is implementing the programme in Dublin’s inner city (parts or all of Dublin 1, 2, 3, 4, 7 & 8). Contact us at 01-8557015 or email at [email protected].

Co-op SICAP 2018-2023 Evaluation Report

Addressing Data Inequalities for Artificial Intelligence-Ways Forward for Policymaking
Climate Change A Just Transition: An Analysis and Roadmap for Dublin’s Inner City
Destabilising the Fight Against Poverty
Events of 23rd November 2023-Dublin City Centre-Compilation of staff thoughts, reactions and feelings
Co-op SICAP 2018-2023 Evaluation Report