It’s been a busy few weeks at Cork City PPN HQ, with partners and member organisations getting back into the swing of things after a quiet few summer months.
I thought I’d share some of the big projects I have been working in, in case any of it is of interest to you.
At the moment, our fortnightly newsletter might be the only contact some of you have with the network. While that is a useful tool to let you know about meetings, events and funding opportunities, it often does not cover the other, behind the scenes work the PPN is involved in.
Here’s a taste of what I, as a representative of the broader network and as coordinator of the work programme, have been contributing to this month.
- The Cork City of Sanctuary (CCOS) movement is a group of diverse partners and interest groups who have been meeting for well over a year now, to work towards ensuring Cork is a tolerant, open and welcoming place for migrants and people of migrant origin. The PPN, both myself and many individual member organisations, have been a part of this discussion from Day 1. I sit on the Advocacy Sub-Group of this movement, and we focus on ways to ensure that migrants can be encouraged and supported to have their voices and needs heard, and facilitated to become leaders in their communities.
This weekend marks one of the first public events coordinated by the CCOS- ‘Engaging Migrants in Politics, A learning conference for all migrant interest groups’. With over 00 attendees registered, and speakers from all the major political parties,I’m excited to see how this is going to go.
One of the PPN’s big aims this year is to engage more with marginalised communities , and residents of direct provision in particular. While the PPN is not a political movement, we do encourage all eligible residents of Cork to register to exercise their right to vote. Further events in this series will focus on the other ways to engage with community development, politics and public participation, including through the PPN
- Related to the above work, I’ve spent time this week collating a consultation response, on behalf of the advocacy sub-group, to a public consultation on Draft National Standards for Accommodation offered to People in the Protection Process. This has to do with the system of Direct Provision. The consultation response will be agreed upon by the wider CCOS group and submitted early next week.
It’s worth saying that everyone, and all organisations have the right to contribute to consultations like this. There is a useful new government-run website which displays all current consultations-check it out here
- This week, I was delighted to be asked to be part of Cork City Comahirle na nÓg steering group. While I’ve been in contact with Joy and Carolyn, the Comahirle coordinators for over a year, we have only recently begun to plan on how the PPN and Comhairle could work effectively together. Youth representation is just one of the many potential areas the PPN could support-after all, children and young people are one of the biggest groups who can sometimes fall outside the traditional channels of our democracy. This group, however, along with the groups we represent from Youth Work Ireland Cork , and many other community based organisations and agencies who work with children and young people, have so much to offer the development of policy and deicison making in Cork City Council and beyond. I cam away from this meeting full of ideas and motivation to further this agenda in the coming weeks!
We are very fortunate now to have a dedicated Children and Young People’s representative on the Local Community Development Committee- Joe Curtin, of Youth Work Ireland, Cork, will drawing on his experience as a youth worker, communicate messages from these groups to the LCDC.
- In June of this year, I was asked to represent the PPN on the project group for an URBACT funded project called Playful Paradigm, where a number of partner cities across Europe examine the work that has been done in the lead city, Udine, in the north of Italy, and try to transfer the themes to their own cities. In this case, Udine have embedded play, games and playfulness into the fabric of their city, with the aim of improving social inclusion, more interaction between generations and reclaiming open spaces and streets for play and games.
You’ll hear lots more about this project if we are accepted in Phase 2 of the project, but for NOW, you can look forward to a trial of Play Streets during Urban October. The Marina, between Pairc uí Chaoimh and Church Road, will be closed to vehicular traffic from 10-2pm on Sundays in October, and groups, families and pedestrians will be encouraged to make the space their own, play and take part in a number of activities. I hope to see a few familiar faces there, and encourage everyone to come and sample a car free riverside!
- Finally, for now (because I have run out of typing time!), I’m delighted to say that Cork City PPN is sending 4 delegates to the World Health Organisation Healthy Cities Conference in Belfast at the beginning of October.
These representatives are
- Siobhán O’Dowd, from Ballyphehane and Togher CDP
- Brian Kelleher, NICHE Health Project
- Bernadette Connolly, Cork Environmental Forum
- Jim O’Donovan, Meitheal Mara
I hope this has been interesting-I’ll try to keep you up to date in this way more often-as ever, you know where I am-at least digitally!- and I look forward to hearing feedback, fielding questions, and meeting at least some of you in person over the coming weeks.