SICAP Programme supporting wellness: Carlow Involvement Centre Writer's Group book launch

Carlow County Development Partnership is delighted to have supported Carlow Involvement Centre Writer's Group in the publication and launch of their wonderful book. This book is the culmination of many months work by this amazing group, a peer support group for those with experience of mental health issues. This book is interesting, inspiring and funny in parts, it is a great Christmas present and is available from the Involvement Centre. All proceeds go towards the running of the centre. We look forward to working with the group in 2018!


SICAP Programme - Integration and diversity: Winter Festival

The Carlow County Development Partnership SICAP Programme was delighted to support the 'Winter Festival', hosted by Carlow Integration Forum on December 2nd in An Gairdin Beo.


This event was a great success with wonderful food from around the world, music, and entertainment. More than 130 children visited Santa and had lots of time to chat with him and get a small gift. A grotto was created in the garden, marshmallows were toasted and Christmas wreaths were made. There were lots of activities for the little ones and indeed for everyone. All activities, Santa visits, and the food was free to all who attended. Santa arrived in a spectacular Pink Cadillac, The garden twinkled with fairy lights and it was a magical afternoon. Special thanks to Clonmore Meats for providing the wonderful car for Santa and letting the reindeer have a rest for the big night! Special tanks to Santa for his early arrival and continued updates on his progress to Carlow. Special thanks to Kevin Kelly for the festive refreshments. Thanks to everyone who worked so incredibly hard to make this event such a success

In current Irish policy, integration is defined as the ‘ability to participate to the extent that a person needs and wishes in all of the major components of society without having to relinquish his or her own cultural identity’, thus highlighting the needs for events that allows migrants express their identity through culture, food and music.

The 2017 Migrant Integration Strategy reminds us that "successful integration is the responsibility of Irish society as a whole and will require action by Government, public bodies, service providers,businesses,NGOs but also by local communities". This event showcased the collaboration that this possible between a Local Community group (An Gairdin Beo) and the Integration Forum which supports new communities, supported by the Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme. The focus of the event was to allow recent migrants to the county interact with the host community and participate in a cultural event, highlighting in this case their their own traditions and food.
The success of the event built on the excellent work being done by the Failte Isteach Programme which creates the connections and energy between the individuals who then came forward to support the Integration Forum. The warm atmosphere in the Garden was built upon the friendly informal engagement which is the characteristic of the Failte Isteach Programme.



Community Development: Rathvilly Development Association


Carlow County Development Partnership is a support structure for anyone who wants to strengthen their community, and is delighted to work with groups around the county who are actively engaged in making their town or village a better place to live. One of these groups is the Rathvilly Community Development Group who have been supported by Joanne Donohoe, the SICAP Development Worker over the last number of years. At their AGM at the start of the year a number of sub-groups were set up, one of which focused on organizing social events for the area. Recently, this group organized a Tea Dance for the Over 55's "Active Seniors" in the town which was enjoyed by all and was just one activity to reduce isolation and respond to the needs of older members of the community.

Older people are assuming a greater importance throughout the whole European Union as both their numbers and their proportion of the population increase due to the ageing of the population. As of 2013, 18% of Europeans are aged 65 or more (more than 92 million individuals ) but this is predicted to rise to 30 % by 2060.

Carlow Age Friendly County Strategic Plan 2017 -2022

An Gairdin Beo was beautifully dressed for the arrival of Minister of State at the Department of Health with special responsibility for Mental Health and Older People Jim Daly T.D. on 13/09/2017.  The occasion was to officially launch the Carlow Age Friendly County Strategic Plan 2017 – 2022.   Chairperson of the Carlow Older Persons Forum Joe Butler compared the event with fellow speakers Cllr. William Paton, Cathaoirleach Carlow County Council, and Eileen Brophy, Chairperson of Carlow Age Alliance.  The National Positive Ageing Strategy (NPAS) sets out a vision for Ireland, and this vision is one that the Carlow Age Friendly Committee are committed to;-

“ ……a society for all ages that celebrates and prepares properly for individual and population ageing.  It will enable and support all ages and older people to enjoy physical and mental health and wellbeing to their full potential.  It will promote and respect older people’s engagement in economic, social, cultural, community and family life and foster better solidarity between the generations.  It will be a society in which the equality, independence, participation, care, self-fulfilment and dignity of older people are pursued at all times”.

The strategic plan focuses on the areas of

·         Outdoor Spaces & buildings

·         Transport

·         Housing

·         Respect & Social Inclusion

·         Social Participation

·         Communication & Information

·         Civic Partnership

·         Community Support & Health Services

There are a number of short-term, medium-term and long-term goals that are listed under the headings above that the plan will try to achieve.  If you would like to view the strategic plan please see below


Greater inclusion and participation: Mental Health: Irish Men’s Sheds Association Launches

There is a strong correlation between deprivation and negative impacts upon mental health.   A lack of opportunities for social engagement and structure can impact upon motivation and creativity and lead to deeper issues such as depression. Men are traditionally less likely to talk about their problems so an area of concern for organizations like ourselves is how to support groups and initiatives which assist men in this area.

In this regard, July 20th was a proud day for men’s sheds in Ireland, as the Irish Men’s Sheds Association launched its new men’s health website, The new website offers information, resources and advice from over 40 Irish health organisations. Based on a template established by the Australian Men’s Sheds Association, the website’s menu is intuitive and easy to navigate, being based on a graphic of the male anatomy.

Users select their age-range, click on the part of the body they want to find out more about, and are then presented with a menu of health topics (including conditions, ailments and lifestyle issues). They can then select from the menu to be taken directly to the website of the country’s leading authorities on that topic. READ MORE HERE.

Community Development: Carlow Cricket Club

Established in 1834 one of the oldest cricket clubs outside of Dublin is opening its new home grounds today. This event is a clear demonstration of the changing face of communities in the county and the richness which this can contribute as the  arrival of refugees is being credited for the revival of Carlow Cricket Club. With a mix of Irish, Eastern Europeans, Australians, Asians and the Rohingya community Carlow have been able to have two adult and two children's teams.



Carlow County Development Partnership are delighted to see Carlow Cricket Club and the Rohingya community receive national attention for all their hard work on the revival of cricket in Carlow. It has been great to be apart of this community project. Well done to all concerned!


To see the RTE story


Men's Shed

Carlow County Development Partnership's mission centers on the holistic development of individuals and communities throughout the county, and this includes social activities as well as mental health. One significant movement which is contributing in this area throughout the country is the Mens Shed movement. Here is a brief introduction to their work in Carlow:

In every mans shed is a world of wonder.  The treasure chest of tools, parts and screws collected through a lifetime of tinkering.  All the problems of the day can be resolved, all the DIY tools are available and nothing seems impossible.  It’s true to say that a man in his shed can be a tranquil and paradisaical place.  The mugs of tea gather as time disappears into the ether. As the fishing rods get prepared, the bicycles get oiled up, lawnmowers being cleaned, garden sheers being sharpened or the car engine getting dismantled, it is a sanctuary.  Often you might hear the shout after an ill-timed blow from a hammer or the murmurs of a radio in the background being interrupted by noises of saws or screw guns pulsing.  Great projects are being creating, works of wonder imagined and the practicality of modern household problems being repaired and improved.

Now imagine a place where a collective of men can get together in order to share skills, work on individual or group projects and share the comradery of getting the job done.  Restoration projects, community projects, woodworking, painting and the chat.  Carlow is lucky to have a places like these. 

The first Men’s Shed in Carlow was formally established in June 2011 under the Carlow Men’s Health Project (CMHP). The CMHP was a group comprising of St. Catherine's Community Services Centre, Carlow County Development Partnership, Men’s Development Network, RAPID, HSE, Carlow Local Sports Partnership, Waterford IT and Carlow IT that focused on improving men’s health in Co. Carlow.

The CMHP also secured funding to enable the future development of the shed. With these supports in place a co-ordinator for the Carlow Men’s Shed was appointed in June of 2011 for 10 hours/week and the Men’s Shed was officially launched during National Men’s Health Week (13th – 19th June). The Men’s Shed began on Tuesday June 21st, opening one day a week, and has steadily grown to its present status, engaging and supporting men 3 days a week. 

The ethos is a community-based, non-commercial organisation which is open to all men where the primary activity is the provision of a safe, friendly and inclusive environment where the men are able to gather and/or work on meaningful projects at their own pace, in their own time and in the company of other men and where the primary objective is to advance the health and well- being of the participating men.

July 20th 2017 was a proud day for men’s sheds in Ireland, as the Irish Men’s Sheds Association launched its new men’s health website, The new website offers information, resources and advice from over 40 Irish health organisations. The website’s menu is intuitive and easy to navigate, being based on a graphic of the male anatomy.

Users select their age-range, click on the part of the body they want to find out more about, and are then presented with a menu of health topics (including conditions, ailments and lifestyle issues). They can then select from the menu to be taken directly to the website of the country’s leading authorities on that topic. READ MORE HERE.

Currently in Carlow they meet every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10.30am to 2.00pm in Askea Business Park, O’Brien Road, Carlow.  For more information contact Michael Nicholson 086 157 7487  Facebook Page

Carlow Traveller Men's Shed C/O St. Catherines CSC St Josephs Road, Carlow, Co. Carlow  meets on Mondays 9:30-1pm For more information contact  William O’Neill 087 396 2832

In Leighlinbridge the Leighlinbridge Parish Men's Shed meets every Tuesday, Thurday and Friday between 18:00 and 20:00  For more information contact Benny Balfe 087 337 1975 or Peter McCarthy 087 923 7562

In Bagenalstown the  Bagenalstown Men’s Shed is located at Moneybeg, Royal Oak Road, Bagenalstown, Co. Carlow. For more information contact Josie Tierney on 086 666 5748 Facebook Page

Tullow Men's Shed Flynn’s Old Garage, Church Street, Tullow, Co. Carlow Monday 10 -1 and Thursday 7-9. For more information contact Frank Morris 087 630 4393 or Andrew Dreelan Facebook Page


Communituy Development: Tullow Road Family Fun Day

Carlow County Development Partnership supports community development throughout the county, and values this way of working as it places people and communities first in  the policies and activities which impact on their lives.

One of the aims under the SICAP Programme is help local community groups in designated parts of the county identify and respond to the developmental needs of their community.  SICAP Development Worker Joanne Donohoe is working closely with the Tullow Road Community Development Group in a number of areas to strengthen the capacity of the group and identify events and activities which will benefit the whole community. On Sunday, 16th of July, a great day was had with over 600 people turning out for the free Family Play Day.   With the sun shining, children laughing and the area alive with activity it was great to see the smiles on all the faces.  A big congratulations to all involved in the organising with Count Carlow Development Partnership, including County Carlow Sports Partnership, Carlow Regional Youth Services and The Tullow Road Community Development Group. It made all the work worth it to see so many people having such a good time.

Promoting Inclusion: SICAP support for Rohingya community

Carlow County Development Partnership were delighted to be able to support the Rohingya community's participation in the UNHCR and Sport Against Racism Ireland Fair Play Football Cup event on July 2nd. This event is Ireland’s largest World Refugee Day event, and saw 20 teams of men and women playing in the annual tournament at the Law Society Gardens in Dublin.The tournament featured teams drawn from refugee and community groups, direct provision centres, NGOs and members of the media. Along the Rohingya who come from Myanmar, approximately 160 players from a host of different countries took part, including  Angola, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Eritrea, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Somalia.
We were delighted to be able to support the team through the provision of a new kit, which  member of the CCDP Board Joe Butler and SICAP Development Worker Annette Fox presented to the team on Saturday. They proudly wore the jersey as they met with  David Stanton T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Justice & Equality, and as they played, making it to the quarter finals of the competition.  This tournament  provides a wonderful opportunity for different communities to come together to commemorate World Refugee Day and celebrate the changing face of communities in Ireland.
The new jerseys got the team noticed by the Irish Times: you can read it here:



Promoting Inclusion: The Failte Isteach Graduation

On Thursday June 15th the 2016- 2017 Graduation Ceremony for the Carlow Failte Isteach Programme took place in the Seven Oaks Hotel.  22 different nationalities were present to see Certificates presented by Jim Deane,  the Lord Major of Carlow to 45 students who had completed the Programme in the past year and to hear encouraging words from Pat Deering TD and Micheal Brennan,  Chief Officer at Carlow County Council. There were also inspiring and moving testimonials from Zena and Jason, two of  the volunteer tutors on the programme as well as from some of the participants themselves. There was also a lovely musical ending to the evening with Beiba, one of the students, performing two songs for the assembled group.

In his opening words, Karl Duffy,  Social Inclusion Manager with Carlow County Development Partnership spoke of the dramatic changes which have taken place in Carlow and the rest of Irish society over the past 25 years:

"In its essence, migration is an expression of a desire for happiness and quality of life which is proper to every human being, a happiness that is to be sought and pursued. And now in Ireland we are in a position to offer a welcome to people coming to us in search of a better and happier life, and to accompany  them on that very human quest. One of the goals of the SICAP programme is to support people on their journey towards personal development and greater participation in the social and economic life of Carlow. And the way we like to do this in Carlow County Development Partnership is by supporting those members of the Carlow community who are motivated to work for greater inclusion and,  in the case of Failte Isteach, to welcome people who have come to Carlow in a very practical way, by helping them with their English.

Sadly, we hear reports from all over Europe and from Ireland of responses that are rooted in fear saying that we should close our doors. But what we see in Failte Isteach is an attitude aimed at overcoming indifference and countering those fears by a generous approach of welcoming those who knock at our doors. So I welcome you to this evening -  a celebration of steps made on a journey together, an acknowledgment of a job well done and a looking forward to a positive future. We are very proud of this programme -  of the work done by Carlow County Development staff, of our coordinator Sandra, of the volunteer tutors - and intend over the next few months to reshape, expand and make the Programme even stronger"