Joe O’Brien, TD, Minister for Community Development and Charities has launched a social media video campaign, featuring the work of Ballyhoura Development, that aims to highlight the role played by the Social Inclusion Community Activation Programme (SICAP) during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. This campaign, entitled #SicapStories, consists of a series of short videos from across Ireland which draws attention to how communities and individuals benefited from the support of SICAP as the COVID-9 pandemic unfolded.

Ballyhoura Development supports collective community engagement and the development of more sustainable and stronger communities and has continued to support local community groups as they work within their communities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. #SicapStories highlights this important work and the positive changes groups across Ireland have made within their communities. During 2020 Ballyhoura Development provided supports to a range of local community groups, families, and individuals some of which are showcased in the Ballyhoura Food Response story which features in the social media campaign.

Launching the campaign, Minister O’Brien said: “SICAP Stories shines a light on how communities with a need were supported in the depths of a global emergency. This support was provided by Community Groups, Local Development Companies, City and County Councils, Local Community Development Committees, Pobal, and my Department. These stories are of volunteerism and community in every sense of the word. SICAP does vital work in helping individuals and groups, by improving the life chances of those who are marginalized in society, living in poverty or unemployed.”

Ballyhoura Development delivers SICAP through supporting communities and individuals via community development, engagement, and collaboration that aims to tackle disadvantage, reduce poverty and promote social inclusion and equality. Commenting on the #SicapStories campaign the Minister said:

 “SICAP provided the tools to communities to meet the challenges of the pandemic head-on. It has assisted 26,000 people throughout Ireland with supports for the elderly, help with food essential supplies, bridging digital divide or finding work and creating jobs.”

The Irish Local Development Network #SicapStories campaign will run from Tuesday 1 June to Friday 4 June and will include five short videos which will focus on a number of themes. Themes include the provision of food supports in rural and urban areas, supports for social enterprise, important services for the elderly, and the provision of online supports. The Campaign is a collaboration between the Department of Rural and Community Development, Pobal, Irish Local Development Network, and Changing Ireland. The #SicapStories will be shared on the social media platforms of all participants in the campaign.