I want to warmly welcome the announcement today by my colleague, Minister of State for Community Development, Integration and Charities, Joe O’Brien, of 70 projects nationwide that will receive €1.2 million in funding under the International Protection Integration Fund 2023.
Grants of up to €20,000 each have been allocated to successful organisations to help them deliver a range of projects designed to provide additional supports to those people in our communities who are seeking International Protection, and I'm thrilled to see some fantastic organisations in Carlow-Kilkenny included in the list of 70 across Ireland that will benefit from the fund this year, including:
Amber Womens Refuge CLG
Twilight Community Group
Active Minds Integration Programme
Africa Solidarity Centre CLG
County Kilkenny LEADER Partnership CLG
St. Canices Community Action
Announcing the fund recipients today, Minister O’Brien said the fund is a significant tool to assist civil society organisations with their invaluable work helping to integrate people who come to Ireland seeking International Protection.
The importance of this work, by these groups, offering targeted supports for people who are at an incredibly vulnerable time in their lives can't be underestimated, and it's good to see that recognised with this very specific funding.
Now in its second year, the International Protection Integration Fund has to date supported 137 projects with grant funding totaling €2.8 million - funding that helps local organisations expand their offering and provide even better supports for our diverse communities.
Each and every day across our counties we see the positive impact that civil society organisations make in helping to foster diverse and vibrant communities, and while anyone may benefit from the projects funded, International Protection Applicants will encompass the vast majority of participants in each project. The call for proposals was grouped under 6 key themes to support the integration of International Protection Applicants - employment, language, civic and legal supports, health and wellbeing, intercultural awareness, and children and young people - and projects supporting mental Health, solidarity through sport, and inclusion for LGBTI+ community were given special priority during the assessment process.
Successful applicants were asked to demonstrate how their proposed project will build links between International Protection applicants and their host communities, encouraging meaningful integration that benefits the community as a whole. It's great to see our local civic society organisations in Carlow and Kilkenny respond so vigorously to the call out for projects, and the variety of projects funded - including legal support, education and training, creativity and the arts, and mental health and wellbeing - shows the deep understanding these groups have for the needs of our new communities and IP applicants in particular.