STATEMENT FROM LABOUR WOMEN
Thursday 9th October 2014
NCCWN FUNDING MUST BE RING-FENCED – LABOUR WOMEN
Labour Women is calling on the government to ring-fence funding for the National Collective of Community Based Women’s Networks in Budget 2015.
Sinead Ahern, Chair of Labour Women said, “The National Collective of Community Based Women’s Networks (NCCWN) is an organisation that works with women from the most disadvantaged communities in Ireland through its 17 local projects. Volunteer managed and led, the organisation directly employs 44 people and is responsible for the indirect employment of approximately 200 people. The NCCWN delivers enormous value for money, its current annual budget is €1.345 million and in 2013 alone, over 35,000 women from the most marginalised backgrounds in Ireland engaged with the services of the NCCWN.
“Since January 2011, the NCCWN has been funded at a national level under the Local Community Development Programme (LCDP). However the LCDP is due to cease at the end of this year and will be replaced in 2015 by the Social Inclusion Community Activation Programme (SICAP). The tendering process under SICAP, however restricts national organisations from applying as tenders can only be submitted on a county by county basis, thus excluding the NCCWN from this process. On top of this, disadvantaged women are not a named target group for SICAP, and therefore there is no need for local partners to include NCCWN projects in their work.
“If funding for the NCCWN is not maintained, there is a serious risk that the vital work of the NCCWN will be lost and that women from the most disadvantaged communities in our country will suffer as a consequence. We are calling on the government to ensure that the NCCWN’s funding of €1.345 million is ring-fenced in Budget 2015. The important and vital work of this organisation must be able to continue as it supports the most disadvantaged women from across our communities. We are also asking that the funding situation relating to the NCCWN and SICAP is reviewed and that an alternative funding stream will be made available to continue this valuable work.”
For further info: Sinead Ahern, Labour Women Chair – 086 3983189
” I anticipate that this project will continue”, “It is my understanding that Minister Alan Kelly is arranging for interim funding for the NCCWN, while working to finding a solution”
“ I like the idea and evidence of progression in the accomplishments of RWN”
Mr Alan Kelly, TD
Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government
12th September 2014
I write in relation to the National Collective of Community Based Women’s Networks (NCCWN), an organisation that works with women from the most disadvantaged communities in the country through its 17 local women’s projects.
I have personal knowledge and experience of the work of the NCCWN. In my role with Banúlacht, a NGO that delivered training to locally based women’s projects, I worked with many of the members of the Collective both before and after they came together in a national organisation. In this role, I had experience of the impact of projects at local level. I’ve seen how educationally disadvantaged women are supported to return to education, how women who are emerging from violent relationships are supported to reclaim their lives, how migrant women and marginalised women are supported to become active in their communities and to work collectively to improve their own, their families and their communities’ well-being.
Since January 2011, the NCCWN (i.e. the work of the 17 local women’s projects) has been funded at a national level under the Local Community Development Programme (LCDP) as an alternative structure. This funding demonstrated the government’s recognition of the vital role that a national/local women’s programme plays in addressing the barriers and inequalities that disadvantaged women face. The NCCWN is and always has been volunteer managed and led. Its indispensable work with women from the most disadvantaged communities in the country is happening only because it is underpinned by thousands of volunteer hours and decades of commitment and voluntary effort. The NCCWN delivers value for money: NCCWN’s current annual budget is € 1.3 million; it employs 44 staff across 17 projects and engaged with 36,589 women in 2013 alone.
The LCDP is due to cease on the 31st of December 2014 and will be replaced as of January 1st 2015 by the Social Inclusion Community Activation Programme (SICAP). Under measures announced by Minister Phil Hogan groups and organisations must now tender competitively to deliver work under SICAP.
However, the tendering process for the implementation of SICAP precludes national organisations from applying, as tenders can only be submitted or considered on a county by county basis and only for the delivery of the programme in its entirety (i.e. across an entire county and across all areas of work and target groups). This means that the NCCWN cannot tender nationally to continue its current work with women from disadvantaged communities, thus funding for the 17 locally based projects working with women on the ground is now under serious threat.
Disadvantaged women are not a named target group for SICAP, so there is no requirement or directive for partners to include NCCWN local women’s projects in local consortiums. There is a serious risk that the vital work of the NCCWN in removing barriers to disadvantaged women’s full and equal participation in society and in local and national decision-making and policy arenas will be lost.
When setting up the LCDP, Government made separate arrangements for NCCWN because of a recognition that its work with disadvantaged women be supported. I very much hope that as Minister you will review the funding arrangements and support the NCCWN to continue to deliver a programme specifically targeted at disadvantaged women both nationally and locally.