WHAT WE DO
The Dublin Inner City Community Co-operative Society Limited, trading as Dublin City Community Cooperative (and generally referred to as ‘the Coop’), was established in November 2014. We are an alliance of 13 grassroots, Dublin inner city, community development organisations which have come together to ensure the much needed development and delivery of social, economic and cultural services continues within our communities. All thirteen groups are partially funded by the national Social Inclusion Community Activation (SICAP) Program as well as by a range of other statutory and non-statutory funders and operate in the most disadvantaged areas of the inner city. The Coop’s members are operational in all of or parts of Dublin 1,3,7,8 as well as disadvantaged city areas in Dublin 2 and 4.
The Coop operates to community development principles and a social inclusion ethos forms the basis for all communication with stakeholders. We work to increase equality of access to information, education, training and employment for our most marginalised local individuals and groups.
An essential element of the work of the Coop is with ‘hard to reach’ target groups. The ‘hard-to-reach’ are those perceived as difficult to engage due to their social circumstances, characteristics and behaviours, and their institutional relationships, such as not using health or other services. Hard to reach communities and individuals are diverse but they include those who face barriers to participation, including economic and social barriers, such as, but not limited to class, income/wealth, geographic location, language, age, gender, ethnicity, education, residential status, health and religion. What is critical to note is that their needs are diverse. Successful interventions respond to the needs, characteristics, and local circumstances of the hard to reach group.
Key to understanding inner city communities is to be aware that the overall statistics and information on the city masks the deprivation therein and that macro average figures tell us nothing about the true experiences of the most disadvantaged. Coop members are based and work specifically with these target groups, and are acutely aware of the impact of disadvantage in these communities; we are committed to working towards a more inclusive society, and targeting scarce resources at disadvantaged communities.
In addition to the work of the Coop’s 13 member organisations the Coop itself looks to partner and collaborate with like-minded organisations engaged in social, economic and community development across the inner city. In 2016 the Charlemont Street/Tom Kelly and St. Teresa’s Gardens Regeneration Boards and the Coop signed a Memorandum of Understanding that is facilitating the employment of a much needed Community Development Health Worker, funded by the HSE.
The Coop’s members are involved in a range of programmes and activities which can broadly be categorised as follows:
Community Development is a process that seeks to build strong, sustainable communities by bringing people and groups together for the good of the wider community and society. Based on principles of equality, empowerment, social justice, fairness and respect it sets out to influence power structures and remove barriers that prevent people from taking part in decisions that affect their lives. We work with local people and groups to be active participants in society.
Life Long Learning & Education
We support people (young and old) to access a wide range of learning opportunities, both formal (up to and including FETAC Level 5) and informal, that prepare them for life and employment.
Children, Childcare & Families
We operate and support local childcare services and support parents to be the best they can be. A number of childcare programmes operated by Coop members provide full day care services for children aged between 1-5 as well as a number of After School Projects for older children.
We pride ourselves on our child-centred approach and aim to offer each child a safe and caring environment in which to develop physically, emotionally, intellectually and socially.
Enterprise & Employment
We support people to get skills, prepare, find a job and keep it. We also have specialist staff within our membership who provide expertise to people on setting up their own business, both for-profit and social enterprises.
The Coop operates to community development principles and a social inclusion ethos forms the basis for all communication with stakeholders. The Coop understands community development to be a developmental activity composed of both a task and a process. The task is the achievement of social change linked to equality and social justice through the delivery of services, and the process is the application of the principles of participation, empowerment and collective decision making in a structured and coordinated way.
The following principles are key to our way of working:
Community work is based on working with and supporting groups of people. It enables them to develop knowledge; skills and confidence so that they can develop an analysis, identify priority needs and issues and address these through collective action.
Community work is about the empowerment of individuals and communities, and addressing the unequal distribution of power.
Community work is based on a belief that every person and every community can play an active role in creating conditions for a just and equal society where human rights are promoted and all forms of oppression and discrimination are challenged.
Equality & Anti-Discrimination
Community work challenges the oppression and exclusion of individuals and groups by institutions and society that leads to discrimination against people based on ability, age, culture, gender, marital status, socioeconomic status, nationality, skin colour, racial or ethnic group, and sexual orientation, political or religious beliefs.
Participation is about the involvement of groups who experience social exclusion, marginalisation and discrimination in decision making, planning and action at all levels, from the local to the global. Participation can be viewed as a continuum of activity that can start from information sharing through capacity building and empowerment to active engagement and meaningful participation in democratic processes.