‘SECAD will strive to provide a range of innovative rural development and social inclusion supports to motivate and enable our communities to create a more vibrant, sustainable and inclusive society’
“Welcome to our review of SECAD’s activities over 2016-2017.We recognise the huge efforts our Board, committees and staff have made in 2016-2017 to surpass our record of achievement.
This has culminated in being recognised at the Cork Business Awards for the ‘Community Project of the Year’ award in November 2017.
Our diversification and innovation strategy continues to be enhanced with a new agreement
with the ESB to provide ‘grant making organisation’ supports. This undertaking will see SECAD expand its role to manage Community Benefit Funds/Corporate Social Responsibility services on behalf of two semi-state organisations (ESB and Coillte).
SECAD is well placed to continue to broaden its reach throughout the Island of Ireland over the next five years.
To this end, SECAD was recognised in the recently published consultation report issued by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment which focused on the potential for ‘Community Ownership of Sustainable Energy Projects’ into the future. SECAD is progressing a model to enhance the opportunities offered by joint/community ownership and has learned from best practice models and initiatives in Scotland.
In 2017, SECAD also launched a new Wild Work initiative which partners with the corporate and wider business sector on a number of environmentally focused projects. In 2017, SECAD Partnership was also awarded two contracts through these PEIL 2014-2020 (Female Entrepreneurship and Employability) to work in partnership with Ballyhoura Development.
Additionally, the expansion of our Rural Social Scheme which should, by year-end have a full complement of participants, supports community based social inclusion focused endeavours across South Cork. Most recently, SECAD became a partner in a successful consortia to promote the reduction of food waste led by the Clean Technology Centre in Cork Institute of Technology (CIT).
It’s been a very busy and positive year and we at SECAD are already looking forward to 2018. Happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year”
Female Entrepreneurship Support
Women’s Rural Entrepreneurial Network (WREN)
SECAD is leading a new Women’s Rural Entrepreneurial Network (WREN) project to support female entrepreneurs living in Cork and Limerick who have a concrete business idea and wish to become self-employed or who are already in the early stages of business development.
The training programme includes personal development and business skills training, one to one and group mentoring, female ‘role model’ sharing of experience and support, themed networking and experiential learning events, formation and facilitated networking sessions and a range of other supports. The training will lead to an accredited award.
SECAD is working in partnership with Ballyhoura Development in Limerick and Cork Institute of Technology’s Rubicon Centre, Hincks Centre for Entrepreneurship Excellence on its delivery.
One to one Employment Support Service
One of the most important SICAP supports provided is a free and confidential one-to-one clinic with a member of our team of skilled experts. Throughout 2016-2017 these clinics were offered by SECAD on a weekly basis at 10 locations across the South Cork Area by SECAD including Youghal, Midleton, Cobh, Carrigaline, Ballincollig and Macroom. There were also outreach services developing in Blarney, the Muscraí Gaeltacht and Passage West. SECAD endeavours to make services available at a centre that is as accessible as possible for all clients.
An important element is that services are hosted within community owned facilities or a centre where other broader services and supports can be offered and availed of by clients.
Sectoral Skills for Work
Programmes to improve employability
In 2016-2017, as the economy began to grow, people returning to employment were required to upskill to improve their prospects of employment. Many required a formal qualification and were encouraged to avail of formal training from various education partners including Cork Education & Training Board (ETB).
Kick Start of many great Initiatives this year with Rachel Murphy
Additionally, a cohort of clients in 2016-2017 required very flexible, accessible and person centred programmes in order to avail of emerging opportunities. In a number of these cases SECAD directly intervened and utilised the skills of its own team, with the support of external trainers where needed. The following is one example of these sectoral programmes.
SECAD identified customer service skills as applicable and transferable to all types of employment, both in the internal environment and external environment at work. A course was devised and delivered in house by SECAD using the coaching and training expertise and capacity of SECAD staff.
The course focussed on understanding key aspects of customer service, how to create a positive customer environment, the value of the customer and how to deal with complaints.
Working with 16 course participants, SECAD bridged the gap to the workplace by organising field trips to local employers in relevant sectors, for example, Midelton Park Hotel in the tourism sector.
‘’The course was a great refresher for me to know what’s involved in writing a great CV. It also helped me to meet new people and it opened doors to find my new role in administration.’’
Li Chai – course participant
Wild Work and the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan
At a launch event in July 2017, SECAD introduced a new initiative – Wild Work (www.wildwork.ie). Wild Work aims to bring people together to facilitate positive action to benefit nature and it is committed to helping people, help nature, help people. Essentially, Wild Work supports;
• Employment opportunities and work experience in the biodiversity sector.
• Educates and raises awareness to help wildlife thrive and improve understanding and respect for nature.
• Benefits society by facilitating business and communities to reap the physical and mental health benefits of engaging with nature.
One of the key projects that Wild Work is developing is the creation of pollinator corridors. Pollinator corridors are typically planting strips to encourage pollinators such as bees which are vital to a healthy ecosystem. SECAD is starting with industrial land owned by companies and working with the staff of these businesses to help spread the idea of creating pollinator corridors at home or within communities.
The National Biodiversity Data Centre developed an All-Ireland Pollinator Plan to highlight the major issues facing pollinator species with many under threat of extinction. Significantly, SECAD was named as an agent of positive change in this plan, one of only a very small number of Local Development Groups across the Island of Ireland.
The board of SECAD Partnership first instigated the development of Wild Work with an investment of €100,000. Wild Work is now calling on businesses across Cork to become key investors in the development of the largest man-made pollinator corridor in Ireland.