The Longford and New Communities CDP is being established by Longford Community Resources Clg in response to the needs of Roma and New Communities in Longford where there is a significant population of Roma, mainly from Slovakia, fleeing poverty and discrimination. The vulnerability of this community has come to the fore especially during the past two years, where they struggled to access basic services including registering with the Dept of Social Protection, accessing housing, health care, etc. The population is concentrated mainly in Longford town, and many are employed in meat factories, mushroom farms, and other precarious work environments.
Many Roma are living in extreme poverty and in poor housing with a constant risk of homelessness. The community have poor or no English and little understanding of Irish institutions, making it difficult to address their often serious and complex needs. Participation in education is poor and racism against the community is frequent.
The objective of the Longford Roma and New Communities CDP is to create the conditions where Roma and New Communities can participate as equals in all parts of society, have their voices heard in decision-making that affects them, have their culture valued and celebrated and have full and equal access to basic services.
Using a community development approach, the project will work over three years to:
- Build trust with the community and support them to access basic services.
- Organise a range of activities and programmes to engage with the community
- Build capacity and leadership skills amongst members of the community
- Establish an independent organisation led by Roma and members of New Communities.