As an early outcome for the CITICESS project, stakeholders from Ballyhoura Development CLG, University of Limerick, REPPP and Heerlen Municipality in The Netherlands met on 2nd October to share projects and ideas, making connections and creating strong foundations for our new partnership. 

The CITICESS project focuses on reaching marginalised communities, low-income households and people facing disadvantage by applying a new, innovative and holistic approach to organising services around the target group. The main objective of CITICESS is to improve regional/urban development policies dealing with vulnerable target groups by exchanging experiences, jointly testing innovative approaches and building the capacity of partners by identifying, disseminating and transferring good practices.

After a successful stakeholder kick-off meeting in September, Ballyhoura Development invited experts from the Research Evidence into Policy Programmes and Practice (REPPP), a joint collaboration between The University of Limerick School of Law and the Dept. of Justice, to meet with management from the Municipality of Heerlen in October.

Participants were given overviews of the following social inclusion-based projects:

•    Charleville Family Support Project (Ballyhoura)
•    No Wrong Door (REPPP)
•    Local Leadership Programme (REPPP)
•    Social Safety Approach (Heerlen)
•    Breakthrough Method (Heerlen)

After the meeting, the partners from Heerlen attended a guided tour of Lough Gur and soaked up the local mythology and history of our beautiful countryside. Following this, a trip to Grange Stone Circle gave the opportunity to discuss the capability of our local scheme workers and the Tidy Towns initiative, leaving the visitors with some inspiration for similar projects in Heerlen.

This collaboration has been made possible through CITICESS, and further stakeholder meetings will be held every 3 months, with the next meeting due to take place on Thursday November 23rd. 

Ballyhoura Development look forward to working with stakeholders and the project partners over the next 4 years, to ensure that information and good practices are shared, and feedback is presented from groups and agencies working in the Ballyhoura Development region. 

For any further information about the CITICESS project, please contact Ella Conway at [email protected] or Eileen O'Keeffe at [email protected].