The main purpose of the Communities Integration Fund is to fund actions by community organisations to promote integration in their local communities. It is intended to provide funding and support for communities across Ireland to play a greater role in promoting integration by providing practical support to facilitate social inclusion among the migrant population.
The Communities Integration Fund was established by the Office for Promotion of Migrant Integration (OPMI) in response to Action 6 of The Migrant Integration Strategy – A Blueprint for the Future, which states:
“The Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration will make funding available to local and national groups to carry out integration initiatives, including once-off initiatives, with particular emphasis on local and regional effects. Activities may include, for example, measures to increase mutual understanding between the host community and migrants, actions to introduce migrants to Irish society and enable them to adapt to it, or measures to encourage migrant participation in civil and cultural life.”
The Fund was formerly announced at the launching of the Migrant Integration Staregy in February 2017. On launching the Fund, the Minister with special responsibility for Equality, Integration and Immigration, David Stanton T.D., noted:
Applications are assessed by OPMI with an eye to the following criteria:
> Voluntary input
> Value for money
> Cost effectiveness
> Added value to existing project(s) or activities
> Number of migrants hoped to be reached
> Geographical scope of project/activity
> Whether activity/project will have support of a local network
(The list above is indicative. Criteria may change from year to year depending in accordance with current OPMI priorities).
From the outset, it was recognised that a ‘light touch’ in terms of monitoring would need to be applied, due both the size of individual amounts being allocated and the potential administrative limitations of small community groups. However, prior to receiving payment, each organisation is required to complete and sign a grant agreement setting out a number of conditions governing the issuance of the grants. These conditions were mainly to ensure that funding was used for the purposes intended and to allow OPMI to gather useful information which might inform future funding programmes.
As with all expenditure within the Department of Justice and Equality, the Communities Integration Fund is open to both internal and external audit through the Department of Justice and Equality Internal Audit Division and the Comptroller and Auditor General respectively.
Communities Integration Fund 2017
A total amount of €515,000 was made available in 2017 to local community based groups to promote integration in their area e.g. local sporting clubs, faith-based groups, theatrical and cultural organisations.
Grants/funding was provided up to a maximum of €5,000 depending on the size and nature of the project.
Examples of activities supported through CIF2017 included:-
activities aimed at introducing newly arrived migrants to the community
measures to encourage migrant participation in local civil and cultural activities (and complement existing programmes and activities)
measures to encourage involvement in local sports clubs, theatre groups, youth clubs, after school clubs, scouts, dancing troupes, choirs, drama/theatre groups, parent& child groups, etc.
measures to link migrants with opportunities in the community (including employment)
A new call for proposals under the Communities Integration Fund will be launched by Miniser of State Stanton on 21 March 2018. Click the link above to find out more.