Friday, 14 September 2012

SIPTU calls for expansion of Community Jobs Programme

SIPTU has called on the Government to fund a major expansion of the Local and Community Development Programme (LCDP) as the most effective means of tackling unemployment and assisting disadvantaged communities.

SIPTU Community Sector Organiser, Darragh O’Connor, said: “At a time when our country is facing its worst unemployment crisis in 60 years Local Development Companies have shown that they can deliver real employment growth and tackle disadvantage, particularly with regard to the long term unemployed.”

Referring to the LCDP 2011 Progress Report, recently published by Pobal, Darragh O’Connor added: “The LCDP offers exceptional value to the taxpayer. The Pobal report indicates that over 4000 local community groups were supported in 2011 in delivering a range of vital intervention services including family support, pre-school support, youth work provision and after school support. In addition the LCDP supported 40,000 individuals, 87% of whom were new to accessing supports from the programme.”

“During this period the programme supported 5,042 people into self-employment and 1,121 into employment. According to Changing Ireland magazine the cost of each new job created through the LCDP was just €5000, which compares with a cost of €12,024 for each job created by Enterprise Ireland.”

The Pobal report also highlighted the “over-riding challenge” to the LCDP from cuts to funding which has led to “significant concerns” regarding the impact on front line services. Total LCDP spend has been reduced by 35% in the last four years, from €84.7 million in 2008 to €55.3 million in 2012.

Manus Bree, a Community Development Project Worker with the Ballymun Whitehall Area Partnership, said: “Nobody can dispute the LCDP is delivering both in terms of jobs and training but funding for our services has been cut to the bone since 2008.

“The Pobal report refers to the provision of front line services becoming unsustainable if further cuts are imposed. This is all the more likely when you consider that demand and caseload for the LCDP has risen by over 50% over the same period. What we need is a restoration of funding to tackle the scourge of long term unemployment and we will be bringing this message directly to our elected representatives in the coming weeks.”

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