Mr Joe O’Brien TD, Minister of State for Community Development, Integration and Charities at the Department of Rural and Community Development joined us for an afternoon of celebrating the friendships that have been formed between the Ukrainian Community and the local people living in the Midleton and Whitegate area.
During his visit, the Minister met with some of the Ukrainian people living in the area and sampled Ukrainian food. He also visited stands which highlighted the successful integration initiatives which are currently being delivered including the supports and programmes provided by SECAD and other agencies including the DEASP, HSE, Red Cross, Cork ETB, REALT, Tusla, Cork County Childcare Committee, CDYS and Midleton FRC. Stands also displayed the activities organised by local volunteer groups which support inclusion including the Kalyna Place project, Midleton Hub, Fáilte Isteach groups and Aghada Sister Hub. The community projects that received Community Recognition Fund grants in the Whitegate area of East Cork were also represented.
This event provided an opportunity to recognise and showcase the integration and inclusion supports offered to the Ukrainian community over the last year through the Social Inclusion Community Activation Programme (SICAP) in collaboration with other agencies, volunteers and community groups.
The Minister said at the event:
“Today, we celebrate the integration of new arrivals into local communities and the collaboration and responsiveness of local agencies, local communities, new and existing community groups coming together to ensure that a warm welcome was extended here in East Cork.
“I am aware the numbers availing of your vital services have increased significantly over the last few years and I know this has required a huge response from you, your staff, your communities and your volunteers, all who have gone above and beyond in providing supports to those who need it most.
“I am overwhelmed by the great range of collaborative activities delivered, giving support through wellbeing activities, language supports, friendly conversation and mental health supports to combat loneliness and isolation and to ensure that all members of our diverse community feel welcomed and valued and to ensure no one is left behind.”