Workhouse Union, a public engagement organisation, delivered the Feasibility Study on behalf
of the Twilight Community Group, with funding support from Kilkenny LEADER Partnership.
International Cultural House Feasibility Study August 2020
1 Executive Summary
Kilkenny, like most other areas of the country, has seen a significant increase in the diversity of its population. This feasibility study explores the potential of an International Cultural House, as a space to support intercultural activity and connection in Kilkenny and offers a set of recommendations to Twilight Community Group and Kilkenny LEADER Partnership. The report is the culmination of a public engagement process and desktop research undertaken between December 2019 and April 2020.
Workhouse Union, a public engagement organisation, delivered the Feasibility Study on behalf of the Twilight Community Group, with funding support from Kilkenny LEADER Partnership. Twilight Community Group is a Kilkenny based registered charity that focuses on issues of social inclusion, integration and community development with the aim of eliminating stigmatisation within society.
The public engagement process was led by an approach of respect and inclusion to ensure representation to both existing and new diverse communities. And guided by feedback from a broad stakeholder perspective including Twilight Community Group, Kilkenny County Council, Kilkenny LEADER Partnership, Football Association Ireland, Immigration Supports Kilkenny, Father McGrath Centre, Fáilte Isteach, Kilkenny Islamic Centre, Kilkenny Public Participation Network, Respond, and intercultural community groups and individuals. The process included conversation sessions, steering committee meetings, focus groups, collaboration workshops and questionnaire surveys delivered through the themes of ‘Belonging’, ‘Expression’ and ‘Support’ which were expanded upon through examining the Need, Opportunity and Challenges of each theme.
The first stage was meeting key people, organisations and community groups hosting intercultural activities and providing integration support in Kilkenny to get a broad picture of the needs and gaps. It also focused on understanding national and international precedent through researching similar projects in both Ireland and internationally, alongside the current integration policy in Ireland.
The second stage saw the public engagement process develop through focus groups and collaborative workshops. This collaborative approach allowed for experience-based feedback and the possibility for a wide-stakeholder engagement in the first stages of facility and activity design for an International Cultural House. Two collaborative workshops took place in St. Canice’s Neighbourhood Hall. Twenty five people participated in the workshops, including people representing organisations and community groups and individuals from new andexisting communities, ethnicities and traditions.
As part of the collaborative workshops, participants envisioned the Needs, Opportunities and Challenges of an International Cultural House in Kilkenny. Furthermore, an online questionnaire was circulated to all participants and the broader communities through relevant organisations
and community groups.
The questions gauged ideas for, and barriers to, types of cultural and social activities people engaged with, alongside ideas of home and expectations of anInternational Cultural House. Respondents to the survey questionnaire expressed satisfactionwith the broad remit of activities and expertise established to support them in the Kilkennyarea. However, other elements of the public engagement process revealed an unawareness of available services among certain groups. Participants brought up a need for certain activities that were, in fact, already established. Improved collaboration between existing organisations and any new initiatives would ensure enhanced and blended integration supports.
From the public engagement activities, stakeholder consultation and broader research, this report identified a need for increased community buy-in and organisational support to make an International Cultural House feasible in Kilkenny. The report sets out recommendations
and actions for Twilight Community Group, in collaboration with other agencies and groups to develop the required organisational capacity for such an initiative.
This report’s key recommendations include that Twilight Community Group participates as a stakeholder for the Kilkenny County Council’s new Integration Strategy process and that any expansion of services or supports delay until the strategy is fully developed. Collaboration
with existing organisations would harmonise the integration supports in Kilkenny, and any new activities should begin with the aim of complementing existing supports and services in Kilkenny.
The second key recommendation for Twilight Community Group is to futher develop its management, governance and funding structures. This report emphasises the importance of a clear invitation and offer of activities. This is essential for engagement with individuals and communities seeking support as well as for collaborating with other intercultural and integration organisations in Kilkenny. The report concludes with clear ‘next steps’ for Twilight Community Group and partnering organisations to act on the recommendations that resultfrom this feasibility study.
Ireland is now a multi-racial and multicultural country. The 2016 Census confirms that 535,475 immigrants now live in Ireland. In terms of origin, 26% of total immigrants to Ireland in 2018 came from the EU, 8% came from the UK and 34% from the rest of the world. Overall this is a hugely positive thing. In a short period of time, Ireland has transformed from a country defined by its emigration history to an inward-receiving host country, with immigrants bringing economic growth and social energy. However, complexities arise from that change posing difficulties that are felt in many local communities. A specific issue that arises is a resistance to integration which presents challenges to new communities. For example, migrants encounter many barriers to employment such as poor English, lack of work experience in Ireland, over-qualification, gaps in C.V., need for further skills or training and racist attitudes, among others. The internationalisation of the population presents Ireland with the challenge of developing a truly integrated society that values cultural and ethnic diversity. Policies and strategies are beginning to address the issues of integration at both local and national levels. However, there is still a fundamental need for promotion and encouragement to develop an inclusive and integrated society with respect for, and recognition of, diverse cultures.
The Department of Justice and Equality defines integration 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’. The Migrant Integration Strategy 2017-2020 envisages a whole-of-Government approach involving actions by all Departments. The Strategy also embraces anti-racism measures and actions aimed at combating discrimination as key elements of integration policy. Kilkenny, like most other areas of the country, has seen a significant increase in the diversity of its population. From the 2011 Census, 9.4% of those living in Kilkenny identify with ethnic groups of countries outside of Ireland. While the majority of people move to Kilkenny for employment opportunities, one in ten arrive to seek protection/asylum from difficulties in their countries of origin.
The policies and research specific to Kilkenny, Uniting the Diverse: Kilkenny Integration Strategy 2013-2017 aim to recognise and promote intercultural harmony in County Kilkenny by providing opportunities for community, business and statutory sectors to interact regularly and support collaborative initiatives. The Strategy is complete with an Action Plan based on themes of i.) Employment and Economic Activity ii.) Education and Training iii.) Active Civic and Civil Participation iv.) Social Inclusion (Engaging and Interacting with Services v.) Social Inclusion (Expressing Culture and Identity; Addressing Discrimination.
In late 2010, funding was secured to support the Kilkenny Integration Forum, a broad cohort
of stakeholders interested in promoting integration from a diverse range of community and
service provider backgrounds. However, due to a lack of a unified vision, the Integration
Forum disbanded in 2015.
The Local Economic and Community Plan 2016-2021 addresses social exclusion within its
strategic objectives to ensure the inclusion and engagement of all citizens in the county. The
plan highlights diversity and encourages integration amongst all ethnic and cultural groups in
Kilkenny through an intercultural programme that includes sporting events and intercultural
events. It also supports the delivery of cultural awareness training to schools and the four
Family Resource Centre’s in Kilkenny to provide the appropriate support and facilities for the
integration of migrants/refugees and asylum seeker families/individuals.
There are also numerous non-governmental and voluntary groups and organisations in
Kilkenny promoting interculturalism and providing support to new communities. An overview
of the supports, groups and services in Kilkenny is addressed in section 4 of this report –
Kilkenny Supports and Services
1 Central Statistics Office, 2017, ‘Census of Population 2016 – Profile 7 Migration and Diversity’, Central Statistics Office
[Online], available at: https://www.cso.ie/en/releasesandpublications/ep/p-cp7md/p7md/, (accessed:20/04/2020)
2 Social Justice Ireland, 2019, ‘Embracing Ireland as a Multicultural Society’, Social Justice Ireland [Online], available at:
3 Immigrant Services Kilkenny, 2019, ‘Research on Barriers to Inclusion and Employment of Immigrants in Kilkenny’,
Kilkenny LEADER Partnership, p. 21
4 The Department of Justice and Equality, 2017, ‘Migrant Integration Strategy – A Blueprint for the Future’, The
Department of Justice and Equality [Online], p. 11, available at: http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/Migrant_Integration_
5 The Department of Justice and Equality, 2017, ‘The Migrant Integration Strategy 2017-2020’, The Department of Justice
and Equality [Online], p. 3, available at: http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/The%20Migrant%20Integration%20Strategy%20
6 Ibid, p. 7
7 Kilkenny County Council, 2012, ‘Uniting the Diverse: Kilkenny Integration Strategy 2013-2017’, Kilkenny County Council
[Online], p. 4, available at: https://www.kilkennycoco.ie/eng/Services/Community_Culture/Social-Inclusion/Kilkenny-
10 Ibid p. 46-54
11 Kilkenny Public Participation Network, 2016, ‘Kilkenny Local Economic and Community Plan’, Kilkenny Public
Participation Network [Online], p. 90, available at: https://kilkennyppn.ie/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Kilkenny-
3 Twilight Community Group
Twilight Community Group is a registered charity that focuses on issues of social inclusion, integration and community development at a local, national and international level. They aim to eliminate stigmatization of all community groups to realise a fully integrated and socially inclusive Irish society. Twilight Community Group is in the process of developing its remit of activities and fully realising its ambitions to support the provision of educational support, youth exchange programmes, intercultural events, workshops and performances. Their scope covers Kilkenny and the Southeast region while also incorporating an international network through their European connections. Twilight is led by a Board of Management: Martin Brennan (Chair, Trustee), Philip Brennan (Vice-Chair), Frank Cody (Secretary, Trustee), Louise Bourke (Trustee), Ania Adamowska (Trustee), Treacy Bourke, Syed Mustafis Rahman (Trustee), Livui Iftime, John Coonan and Patrick O’Neill (Trustee).
Twilight Community Group hosts an annual International Conference on the Stigmatisation of Migrants. Following the 2018 Conference, the Twilight Group released a survey which was completed by 1250 people from a range of backgrounds and ethnicities. The results of the survey shows a knowledge gap in the language used to describe new communities in Ireland and the government assistance and policies supporting them. Specifically, the results indicate confusion between the terms ‘migrant’, ‘asylum seeker’ and ‘refugee’. This has sparked thinking on the activities Twilight Community Group could facilitate leading to the visualisation of an International Cultural House. This lead to the following aims for the International Cultural House:•
Increase mutual understanding between host communities and immigrants
Combat racism and xenophobia
Facilitate language acquisition
Promote the integration into Irish society of vulnerable or socially excluded immigrants
Provide training to public and private sector organisations on equality and integration
Provide information and support for immigrants regarding access to services for immigration and citizenship
Promote integration in schools the youth sector and the workplace
Promote the involvement of immigrants in sport
12 Bartley, C 2019, ‘International Conference Addressing the Stigma Surrounding Migrants Opens in Kilkenny’, Kilkenny Now [Online], available at: https://kilkennynow.ie/international-conference-addressing-the-stigma-surrounding-migrants-opens-in-kilkenny/https://kilkennynow.ie/international-conference-addressing-the-stigma-surrounding-migrants-opens-in-kilkenny/ (accessed:24/04/2020)
4 Kilkenny Supports and Facilities
Office This section is an overview of the exisiting intercultural, migrant and refugee supports, activities, and services alongside broader cultural organisations across Kilkenny.
Specific Migrant and Refugee Supports in language, integration, legal issues, employment and housing provide essential assistance. Fr McGrath Centre hosts the Immigrant Support Clinic, which offers private and confidential support services including assistance with green card/work permit renewals and identifying pathways to employment. Fáilte Isteach is a community-based project where older volunteers welcome migrants to the community through conversational English classes. Fáilte Isteach is hosted in various locations across the county including Fr McGrath Centre, Droichead Family Resource Centre, Ferrybank Library, Coláiste Cois Mhuire and John’s Green House. New Start supports migrants into employment and is managed by Kilkenny LEADER Partnership. Kilkenny’s four Family Resource Centres in Urlingford, Callan, Newpark and the Butts provide family, childcare and employment supports to immigrant and marginalised groups. Respond (a national Approved Housing Body) through the Refugee Resettlement Programme, currently supports Syrian families in Callan, Urlingford, Mooncoin, Thomastown, Ferrybank, Rosbercon, Castlecomer and Piltown.
At a county-level, several key Funding and Development Organisations including Kilkenny LEADER Partnership, Kilkenny County Council, Public Participation Network, Kilkenny County Library Service and the Education & Training Board provide support to immigrant and intercultural activities and services. At a national level the Immigrant Council of Ireland promotes the rights of migrants and the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland works for justice, empowerment and equality for migrants and their families.
Various Cultural Groups and Supports focus on distinct nationalities, ethnicities and faiths including the Bangladeshi Association Ireland, Kilkenny Islamic Centre, Polish School and Kilkenny Traveller Community Movement alongside groups with an intercultural focus including Festival of Cultures, Twilight Community Group, St Canice’s Neighbourhood Hall, Eurobug and United Against Racism Kilkenny.
Kilkenny has a wealth of Arts Organisations, Cultural Festivals and Sports and Inclusion initiatives. A number of these main-stream cultural offerings have an intercultural strand including Kilkenny Recreation and Sports Partnership, FAI, Open Circle and Savour Kilkenny. Informed by the Arts Council’s 2019 ‘Cultural Diversity and the arts policy and strategy’ established arts and cultural organisations and festivals will have a particular focus over the coming years towards embedding cultural diversity and intercultural arts practice within their programming.
Immigrant Council of Ireland * Kilkenny LEADER Partnership * Kilkenny County Council * Public Participation Network * Kilkenny County Library * Education & Training Board * Migrant Rights Centre Ireland *
Immigrant Support Clinic * Fáilte Isteach * New Start * Family Resource Centres * Respond *
- Kilkenny Islamic Centre * Polish School * Eurobug * Kilkenny Traveller Community Movement * Bangladeshi Association Ireland * St Canice’s Neighbourhood Hall *United Against Racism Kilkenny * Twilight Community Group * Festival of Cultures*
FAI * GAA * KCAT Arts Centre * Kilkenny Arts Office * Butler Gallery * Watergate Theatre * National Design & Graft Gallery * Open Circle * Kilkenny Arts Festival * St. Patrick’s Day Festival & Tradfest * Subtitle: European Film Festival * AKA * Savour Kilkenny * KRSP *
• Migrant and Refugee Supports Funding and Development Organisations and Services Cultural Groups and Supports Arts Organisations, Cultural Festivals Sports and Inclusion
5 Public Engagement
The engagement process was created around the concept of co-production. Co-Production is an approach for citizens to participate in and meaningfully contribute to the design, development, and ongoing care and maintenance of the services we need, along with the spaces and places we live in. This methodology promotes lived experience as a means of influencing change in our services and supports.
The feasibility study set out to understand the need for an International Cultural House from the perspectives of those who will avail of the facilities and the stakeholders who will support it. Activities included two collaborative workshops, structured conversations and focus groups, alongside observational research and a survey questionnaire. The process also undertook desktop research into relevant policy and precedent projects.
Conversational meetings with the various stakeholders working within the remit of social and cultural integration in Kilkenny broadened the contextual understanding of the consultation process. These Conversations focused on issues of expressing and celebrating cultural identity, examining relevant services and supports, and visioning what an International Cultural House could be within the context of intercultural facilitation in Kilkenny.
Two focus groups were held with the Traveller Health Group and members of the Syrian community. These allowed for a deeper understanding of the needs of these particular communities.
Two collaborative workshops took an interactive co-production approach. The workshops took place in St. Canice’s Neighbourhood Hall. 25 people participated in the workshops from across a range of organisations and community groups. These workshops were central to the overall process; facilitating a space for a discussion on the broader themes of intercultural activities: Belonging; Expression; and Supports. The workshop gathered voices and perspectives through group activities asking participants to imagine the proposed International Cultural House in Kilkenny through the lens of Needs, Opportunities and Challenges. A transcriber recorded the discussion on coloured hexagonal notes and a nominated spokesperson gave feedback to
23 participants responded to an online survey questionnaire (See Appendix IV). These
questionnaires were distributed online to workshop participants and wider networks from the
engagement process. Participants were encouraged to share the survey with other members
of their cultural community or group. The findings of the questionnaires illustrate a snapshot
of the cultural landscape within Kilkenny, providing quantitative findings for the report and
recommendations for the International Cultural House. The survey focused on people’s sense
of identity and belonging and what gaps in supports and facilities they feel. It also identifies
the broader needs of the area in relation to an International Cultural House.
Public Engagement: Summary
19 Conversation Sessions
2 Focus Groups
25 Collaborative Workshop Participants
23 Surveys Questionnaires
6 Public Engagement:
Perspectives and Voices
Individual voices and perspectives were recorded in various ways depending on the engagement activity. The stakeholder conversations and steering committee meetings gleaned a broader picture of the needs and gaps from key individuals, organisations and community groups working on social inclusion and integration in Kilkenny. The collaborative workshops gathered accounts from a wider group of stakeholders from a broad range of communities in Kilkenny (See Appendix I for full engagement record). The activities facilitated two complementary lines of discussion. The first focused on the broader themes of Inclusion and Integration, exploring the support structures and barriers for people’s sense of belonging and expression. The second focused on the needs, opportunities and challenges in imagining an International Cultural House. Altogether, the consultation activities gave an understanding of the necessary remit of activities and facilities for an International Cultural House both from the perspective of those who will avail of these facilities and the stakeholders and services who will support it.
6.1 Inclusion and Integration: Belonging | Expression | Supports
Below is a summary of the participants’ voiced concerns, issues and suggestions on the themes of belonging, expression and support. They were gathered throughout the public engagement process, recorded through note-taking and from written responses to question prompts during workshops.
The integration of diverse communities and individuals does not come without difficulties and resistances in Irish society. Having a sense of belonging can give value to everyday life, providing support for individuals and groups. In the 21st century, belonging is an increasingly complex idea. It is becoming more common that people do not identify or find a sense of belonging in a place based context nor find a sense of belonging attached to a group of people. It is nonetheless important to highlight the barriers to having a sense of belonging that certain groups and individuals face.
In the collaborative workshops, recurring themes emerged as to what belonging is, the barriers that participants have experienced and how these could be broken down. Specifically, culture, politics, class, age, ability and sexuality were all listed as factors for a person’s sense of belonging. Participants highlighted finding a community to belong to such as neighbours, friends, clubs, societies, classes, religious groups, country-of-origin groups as a priority, as well as finding support.
Support is in terms of the individual supporting themselves to fully participate in society and seeking the support of other individuals, groups and organisations to assist them to do so.
Language both English and native, was clearly linked to a sense of belonging with no or poor English language being the main barrier to a sense of belonging in Ireland. Having work and voluntary activities were a factor, with a lack of work negatively impacting a person’s sense of belonging, this is particularly an issue with the immigrant community. Research on Barriers to Inclusion and Employment of Immigrants in Kilkenny outlines that unemployment, absence of relevant skills training, discrimination, poor command of the English language, and the need for support are common factors affecting immigrants in Kilkenny.
Expressing your culture can be through the language you speak, the religion you practice or the holidays you celebrate. It refers to shared language, beliefs, values, norms, behaviours, material objects, the ways of living that are passed down from one generation to the next, and much more. The ability to celebrate culture is a vital part of society in the way it shapes us, our behaviour and our identity. An International Cultural House has the potential to encourage understanding of the expression of diverse cultures.
The public engagement process revealed the numerous ways in which culture is expressed in Kilkenny. Workshop participants voiced the feeling of empowerment it gave them as well as the intolerance that was occasionally met. Participants spoke of feeling both part of, outside of or between two cultures; traversing the line between the culture they were born into and their Irish identity. Participants sought expression in gatherings, festivals, music, food, dress, dance, arts, sport, politics, protest, language, religion, media, hobbies, gifting, folklore and stories, in individual activity and shared experiences. Language barriers and self-isolation due to lack of shared experience were given as barriers to cultural expression, as was a lack of designated space for gatherings and events, and a lack of transport for rural communities. Participants expressed a desire for opportunities for intercultural and individual expression. Schools lead a good example by hosting International Cultural Days, celebrating cultural expression through dress, food and flags.
There are various local government, community and voluntary supports that provide support
to new and existing communities, and individuals. These supports range from providing
opportunities for listening to people from a range of backgrounds and their perspectives,
promoting models of inclusive behaviour, facilitating the understanding of differences,
coordinating educational and professional opportunities, and expanding awareness of
difference through social events and activities.
Participants throughout the consultation process detailed the supports that they used in
Kilkenny, their positive experiences of inclusion and negative experiences, leading to feelings
of exclusion. Language, community and educational supports were top priority for workshop
participants. English language classes were the primary support that participants sought.
A lack of English classes in schools was reported as leading to some children struggling to
participate in school culture fully. Classes in native languages and culture were also a priority
for many participants. Participants spoke of self-support routes, with examples such as
education, knowledge, language, clubs, creating a community and establishing businesses.
Friends, Comhaltas, Family Resource Centre’s, public houses, arts, religion, youth clubs and
sport were seen as positive community supports for inclusion. A reluctance to intercultural
exchange, class distinction, and a lack of trust of and from minority communities were all
listed as barriers leading to exclusion.
6.2 An International Cultural House: Needs | Opportunities | Challenges
As part of the collaborative workshops, participants envisioned the Needs, Opportunities
and Challenges of an International Cultural House in Kilkenny. This collaborative scoping
exercise provided the feasibility study with direct suggestions from the participants as to the
remit of activities and facilities for an International Cultural House and the opportunities and
challenges the project could encounter.
A Need for Inclusion and Integration Ethinic minority and intercultural groups toshare cultural events together and with others. One identifiable centre where all can go to meet and learn about each other’s cultures.
A hub to signpost services and activities to potential users. An Information point for newcomers not duplicating what already exists.
A Need for Support Supporting new arrivals by people who are settled in here [peer support]
A Place of referral with regards to people’s problems/share experiences and knowledge of Irish system and where to go. Secretarial supports for people/groups
Provide support to programme refugees when their supports stop.
A Need for a Space Performance space.
A space for people to meet. Drop-in cafe (talking shop).
A Need for Education English and native language classes. Diversity Training for anyone involved in the centre and also for others Education – anti-racism and prejudice awareness. Talks on the process of immigration and refugee journeys to promote understanding and solidarity.
An Opportunity for Inclusion andIntegration Solidarity and inclusion of Irish community. Finding common ground. Making it inviting for people who feel excluded.
Solidarity and inclusion of the wider community. Find common ground across all groups/individuals.
To protect heritage and interact with other cultures to promote inclusion. Get an understanding of other cultures and an appreciation/opportunity for accessibility for older citizens through events, workshops and organic integration.
To feel part of a community.
An Opportunity for Support
Advocacy through representation.
Members of groups to represent their
cultures in other groups Supporting communities with concerns
about changing cultural landscapes.
An Opportunity for a Space A space for encountering others.
Games e.g. chess, bridge etc.
Meet community leaders.
A place for connection of all cultures.
A hub. A space to encounter each other. Break down [barriers for] socially excluded people/inviting place to go.
An Opportunity for Collaboration
Linking with FAI kicking off with English.
Linking with other services.
Linking to expert advice (law, immigration supports etc.).
Linking with existing services to provide space and signposting.
Outreach to rural communities.
A Challenge for Inclusion and Integration Balance of cultures.
Get buy in from the local community and finding a place for the Irish community.
Inclusive programming. Break down barriers.
Irish community appreciation.
Communication and information – the
invitation/offer. Integration between non-Irish cultural
groups is also a challenge and needs to be
Connecting with older and/or harder to reach communities – communities with high deprivation, language barriers.
A Challenge for Space Making space for individual groups and mixed groups. Accessibility e.g. lifts.
Travel is a challenge for rural communities.
A Challenge for Governance Management needs to evolve beyond a volunteer model. Need for constant evaluation. Clear leadership. Ensuring trust, personal commitment, and adequate time to manage it. Personnel to implement andsustain the centre.
Developing a code of conduct. Ongoing Funding sources
Challenge for Collaboration
Working with other organisations to compliment services.
Signposting – can’t do everything,
start small and grow from there.
An online questionnaire was circulated to all participants and to the wider community through
relevant organisations and community groups. The questionnaire focused on responses
from the Kilkenny area. The questions gauged ideas for, and barriers to, types of cultural and
social activities people engaged with. To understand the broader terms that would improve
respondent’s feelings of belonging, it focused on ideas of home. The questionnaire concluded
with a visioning prompt for responses that would articulate expectations of an International
Cultural House. The questionnaire was completed by 23 respondents between the ages of 18
Below is a summary of their responses to each question supported by some of their
unique voices and opinions.
What cultural and social activities do you take part in and where do they take
Respondents listed both casual activities such as the local pub, cultural dancing, playing
music, shopping and cinema, and structured activities such as GAA matches, football, sports
tournaments, English classes at Fáilte Isteach, Irish language classes, Irish dance, fitness
classes, theatre events, cultural day, and participation in local festivals. Volunteering and
youth work, cultural exchanges, making connections with new people and places, and online
activities, such as FIFA and social media were also listed.
“History, language, geography lessons. Create relations between different nationalities.
Enjoy a peaceful time reading a book or discover people and places.” (female, 33)
“Football, fifa, cultural dance mostly at people’s homes” (male, 24)
“Kilkenny City. Playing music with friends” (male, 55)
“Acting, choir in local church” (male, 34)
“Awareness Days. Celebration Days. Exhibitions. In the South East area” (anon)
“Theatre, Visual art, English classes for foreigners, Cooking classes, Cycling, Charities,
Board games” (male, 46)
“drama, music, art, community projects – Thomastown, Kilkenny City & local areas” (female,
“No just variety or value” (male, 55)
“Irish Language learning difficult to find” (male, 66)
“I live in the countryside and am far away from the activities these take place, I am also now
a Waterford Institute of Technology student so have little time for such activities despite
enjoying them and working hard, and cannot be a member of certain activists such as
comhairle because I am no longer a secondary school student and there are much less
facilities for college students to engage in such activities unfortunately!” (female, 18)
“At the moment are few and scattered all over” (male, 46)
“Yes, there no single location for all, and it isn’t easy to find out when events happen”(male,
What cultural and social activities would you like to see in Kilkenny?
Respondents listed both Irish and international cultural and traditional activities. Music,
dance, sport, arts, crafts and food were recurrently mentioned, as well as both casual and
structured social activities such as picnics and culture days. Celebrating individual culture and
intercultural activities were often given equal value. Educational work supports and language
classes were mentioned in multiple responses. 2 respondents felt that Kilkenny already had
many opportunities. Some respondents listed activities that are already available, indicating
that there is an information barrier and a need for better signposting to these activities.
“Educational . Language , work assistance” (male, 55)
“Cultural space where people can meet to celebrate their own culture and share with others.
Space for language learning, dancing, facilities for cooking (ethnic food) space to meet,
drop in for coffee, info for eg immigrant rights, small library regarding world cultures.” (male,
“Arts exhibition of different cultures” (female, 20)
Language classes, crafts classes, dance classes, music classes, cooking classes”(female,
“Cultural dances, language classes, community orientated hangout spots” (male, 24)
“Art, dancing, international exchange between countries, summer camps, celebrations like
St Patrick, International days.” (female, 33)
“Any activity that would promote tolerance and celebrate culture would be welcome. I a
particularly concerned about the rise in Right Wing political movements and the growth of
Islamophobia. It is worrying.” (anon)
Do you feel at home in Kilkenny? Please describe.
100% of respondents answered this question positively. Reasons for feeling at home in
Kilkenny were an accepting community, open and welcoming people, diverse groups and
cultures, access to nature, culture and heritage, and being involved in community activities.
Some respondents gave suggestions such as Kilkenny “could be better’ and that there could
be better engagement with diverse communities from the local authorities.
“It’s a lovely place to begin with, the people are really welcoming”(male, 24)
“Yes, but could be better” (male, 24)
“Yes. I have grown up there half of my life.” (female, 23)
“Being a small but beautiful city Kilkenny makes it feel like home by simply walking beside
the river, looking at the swans and ducks. Because I love nature and Kilkenny has it I am
amazed and enjoy it living in.” (female, 33)
“I like Kilkenny, my new home” (male, 49)
“Yes, friendly locals who tolerate other people but can become even better, having local
authorities more involved in diversity of Kilkenny” (male, 46)
“Yes, its [it is] a very welcoming city with lots of culture and heritage” (female, 26)
“Yes – moved here eighteen years ago and I’m involved in community activities” (female, 50+)
Is there anything that would make you feel more at home in Kilkenny? Please
The majority of respondents thought their sense of feeling at home in Kilkenny could be
improved through more structured, and casual, cultural and community activities. Four did
not see a need for improvement whilst one listed a need for affordable housing. Suggestions
included more interesting events, community activities, intergenerational activities, activities
specifically targeted at young people and opportunities to share traditions, music and theatre.
Respondents cited a need for a place for all community groups to gather, to get to know each
other in a friendly setting. It was proposed that this could be a space to encounter new people
and new cultures creating more public and strategic support for immigrants from businesses
and the local authority.
“It would be nice to have more showcasing of diverse cultural activities” (female, 50)
“Would like to see the Kilkenny chamber of commerce intriduce [introduce] more business
opportunities for people living and based in the south east” (female, 26)
“Local authorities could be involved in offering opportunities to foreign nationals willing to
settle down in Kilkenny County” (male, 46)
“More opportunities to meet with groups and individuals for different cultural backgrounds”
“Socialising and going out at different activities like music, theatre.” (female, 33)
“Yes, a community hall for my community, a hangout productive spot for my peers” (male,
“Getting to know other cultures in friendly settings” (female, 70)
What does celebrating and expressing cultural identity mean to you? Please
The responses to this question emphasised the importance of expression, both individual
expression and shared cultural experience. Repondants proposed expression as an opportunity
to unite rather than divide people, as a means of self discovery, to learn about new cultures
from new perspectives and encourage the acceptance of others. Responses described shared
cultural experiences and intercultural activities such as eating, singing, playing, dancin
intergenerational experiences, sharing native culture, traditions and language, Irish language
‘Holding cultural days sharing food, music, art, poetry, conversation” (female, 50+)
“I feel its important to support irish cultural traditions and bring about modern change at the
same time” (female, 26)
“Everything. It means family, ancestors, my home town, memories” (male, 34)
“Example: speaking your native language more often” (male, 55)
“It shows the roots and culture of the individual. Creates a mutual understanding between
nationalities.” (female, 23)
“Means acception…to show what we know and can offer and to gain more knowledge of
others cultures” (female, 20)
“A lot really, coming together in large numbers for a positive course is always a delight.”
“Spending time celebrating one another’s individual cultures by eating, singing, playing,
dancing, etc… with others of all backgrounds” (female, 41)
“Being true to self .. inner thoughts feelings and being able to express them” (female, 70)
An International Cultural House could be…
“A fantastic opportunity for everyone to grow” (male, 55)
“Great boast to the city” (female, 70)
“Meeting point” (male, 41)
“A place where different ethnic groups can meet to celebrate there [their] own culture and
share it with other (includes Irish culture)” (male, 66)
“A great place for parents to show our children how amazing other cultures are and why/ how
diversity should be embraced.”(female, 41)
“Gathering creative minds” (male, 23)
“Where people of other cultures combine and get to know people and other cultures and
educate themselves about their own and embrace themselves and feel happy while also
working to learn and create.” (female, 18)
“Where people from different backgrounds come together to connect and share experiences”
“A place to learn different cultures and skills” (female, 30)
“Magical” (male, 24)
“I’m not sure. It is a difficult question. It would really depend of [on] what was going on
inside the house. Will it be a service provider? Will each religion be celebrated? How will it be
managed? My fear is that one group may dominate. Will all staff and participants undergo
cultural awareness training? Will people who work there be culturally competent? Culturally
skilled? The concept is a good one. Education and learning would need to [be] part of it. It is
also necessary to work with the existing providers in Kilkenny.” (anon)
“The nest of ideas.” (female, 23)
“A place for inter generational social interaction through education, sports and arts” (male,
“A Hub for every one of us including Irish” (male, 40)
“A house where everyone is welcome and we can Express and develop. Also, a house where
we will meet new people and explore.” (female, 33)
“Integration center for multicultural mix in Kilkenny” (male, 49)
“A hub to unit and embrace cultures and expression of all included, with locals” (male, 46)
“A great concept” (female, 26)
Will all staff and participants undergo cultural awareness training? Will people who work
there be culturally competent? Culturally skilled? The concept is a good one. Education and
learning would need to [be] part of it. It is also necessary to work with the existing providers
in Kilkenny.” (anon)
“A hub to unit and embrace cultures and expression of all included, with locals” (male, 46)
“Not really needed” (male, 55)
“A great concept” (female, 26)
“A space where all cultures can meet, plan, practice and develop ideas to highlight aspects of
their culture in the community” (female, 50+)
“Comedy, drama, events, celebrations, award ceremonies, inter cultural performances, lots
and lots more” (female, 55)
Culture in the community” (female, 50+)
7 Future Planning
7.1 Precedent Projects Research
While the International Culture House would be the first space in Kilkenny dedicated to intercultural exchange and activities, there are examples of precedent projects across Ireland. Each was born from their own separate initiatives, local needs and incentives and following projects all propose to support social and cultural integration. These projects demonstrate good practice and provide ideas to envision the International Culture House, its facilities, programme of activities and how it can serve communities from all social backgrounds, ethnicities and traditions. They give models of management structures and means of funding for activities.
Donegal Intercultural Platform
The Intercultural Platform is a voluntary NGO based in Donegal committed to helping establish a more inclusive, welcoming and anti-racist society. They are recognised by minority communities and state agencies as the representative forum for intercultural inclusion through their various programmes. They have representatives on the Connecting for Life initiative, The Community Health Network, Donegal Women’s Centre, The PEACE IV Partnership, DLDC Working Groups, Social Inclusion Measures Group and the Social Inclusion Linkage Group to assist with the delivery of their programmes.
The Building Intercultural Communities project aims to develop positive relationships and the inclusion of, and between, Black Minority and Ethnic communities (including Travellers and Roma) through celebrating cultural diversity so communities can live, learn and socialise together without prejudice or hate. The project is in partnership with the Donegal Travellers Project. The Donegal Intercultural Platform is involved in a number of health and well-being related actions and programmes in collaboration with the HSE and other health organisations and groups. They promote the inclusive distribution of health-related information through the translation of public healthcare documents.
The Donegal Intercultural Platform promotes the use of the iReporting system to gather the facts about racist incidents. This system enables people who experience or witness racism and/or those supporting them to report racism from any online device in a confidential and user-friendly way. The Donegal Intercultural Platform helps organise free English conversation classes every week from beginner to advanced level. The classes are in partnership with Fáilte Isteach – the national organisation that coordinates these supports for migrant workers and their families.
What we can learn
• Collaboration with multiple strategic partners
• Successful voluntary structure
• Supported by both minority communities and state agencies
• Inclusive of Irish ethnic culture
• User friendly website with visual aids and multilingual information
The Lantern Intercultural Centre
The Lantern Intercultural Centre situated in Synge St, Dublin, was established in 2007 as a place of hospitality to promote intercultural and interfaith dialogue. Sponsored by the Christian Brothers, the Centre, as one of its goals, facilitates the formation and development of ethnic
based groups (national, cultural, and faith), among which an International Women’s Support Group has been formed. It is recognised that a significant issue affecting the ability of migrant groups to participate more fully in social and cultural activities is the difficulty in accessing
premises and facilities. The Lantern Intercultural Centre meets this need. Up to 50 groups now use the space for a variety of activities. The Centre has function rooms for rent and also provides free English classes and a counselling service. It operates a structure of governance through Trustees, a Board of Management, a Centre Director and a team of volunteers. The Trustees appointed a Board of Management to control
the conduct, management and financial administration of the Centre. The Centre Director runs the day-to-day management of the Centre. Their role translates Board policies and decisions into effective action. The Centre is staffed totally by volunteers, three of whom are on a fulltime basis and six on a part-time basis. A member of staff is always on duty at the Centre and weekly meetings are a means of staff communication. The Lantern Centre provides training to enhance the intercultural competence of all staff and volunteers. The five-day programme
enables them to relate in a more culturally enlightened manner with the diversity of client groups.
What we can learn
• Provides space for community groups
• Generates revenue through room hire
• Transparent management model demonstrated through website
• Clear demonstration through website of who uses the centre and who can avail
of facilities and activities
• Successful voluntary structure
• A member of staff is always on duty
• Provides intercultural training for all staff and volunteers
• Provides accommodation to groups offering training, counselling and
The Intercultural Centre Clondalkin
The Intercultural Centre based in Clondalkin, Dublin, offers a variety of programmes promoting and supporting migrant integration, including English language classes, crafts clubs and a drop-in advice service. They recognise that interaction between immigrants and citizens is a
fundamental mechanism for integration. Since March 2008, The Intercultural Centre has run a variety of programmes promoting and supporting integration and interculturalism.
The Centre’s main objectives are to build the capacity of immigrants to integrate with, and participate fully in, Irish society, to develop activities and actions which promote dynamic intercultural dialogue between members of immigrant and Irish communities to promote interculturalism and Providing volunteer opportunities for members of Irish and immigrant communities to increase their participation in the life of the local community. The programme of activities it hosts and runs are aimed at fulfilling these objectives and include: English courses, community leadership courses, personal development and job-seeking skills courses, support groups, ‘Unison’ World Music Choir, intercultural chess clubs, art and craft workshops, world cuisine workshops and Arabic, French, Spanish, Russian and other language classes
with native speaking volunteers. The Intercultural Centre is a drop-in centre for information and referrals for the Garda Clinic, Racist Incident Reporting System and free computer and internetaccess.
What we can learn
• Strong emphasis on integration and interculturalism
• Provides volunteer opportunities
• Provides information and referrals to other services
Intercultural Drop-In Centre Tallaght
Established in 2003, the Intercultural Drop-In Centre aims to address integration needs of migrants living in the Tallaght area by providing a safe place for people to meet, supportingthem in making links with local organisations and services, and providing English language tuition to facilitate participation in Irish society. Those who attend the activities are among the most marginalised of migrants, the majority being women, who need English language and literacy skills to survive in their new host country. The centre operates an open-door language and orientation service on the five weekdays from 9.30 am till 2pm. Funding for the centre comes from the Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration via South Dublin County Council. Since early 2010 the project has been managed by South Dublin County Partnership.
The activities the Centre delivers is through a team of volunteers who receive ongoing training.
What we can learn
• Successful volunteer structure
• Provides appropriate training for staff and volunteers
• Clear invitation and offer of services for both service users and volunteers
• Provides information and referrals to other services
7.2 Sustainability and Funding
Funding streams are possible for an International Cultural House through options aimed at
programmes, EU exchanges, migrant integration support and language acquisition.These
funding opportunities are at local, national and international level. There are also established
intercultural projects that offer a model of management. Consideration of funding and
management is imperative for the successful delivery of the International Cultural House and
The Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration’s Communities Integration Fund is a small grant scheme worth €500,000 in total that has been established to support projects that promote the integration of migrant and host communities. This fund offers small scale grants between €1000-€5000 however organisations can submit separate applications for separate projects and initiatives.
Twilight already has an established exchange programme through Erasmus+. This EU programme supports education and training provides opportunities for European citizens tostudy, train and gain experience abroad. The European Solidarity Corps is the new European Union initiative that aims to foster solidarity in European Society through giving young people opportunities to volunteer or work in projects that benefit communities and people across Europe.
The European Solidarity Corps supports young people to take part in and organisations to host volunteering, jobs and traineeships and solidarity projects. Any public or private organisation from a European Union Member state holding a Quality Label from the European Solidarity Corps is eligible.
Community and Cultural Facilities Capital Scheme (CCFCS) is to respond to the need for better community, recreational and cultural facilities for community groups. Any group with a recognised legal structure operating on a not-for-profit basis that demonstrates a policy ofinclusion and capacity to manage and operate their proposed project can apply. Examples of projects eligible for support would include broad based recreational facilities, community arts projects and projects that conserve the built and natural heritage of the county. Funding is up
to a maximum of ranges from €9,000-€45,000 with 25% match funding.
The Community Events Grant Scheme assists community event organisers with the development promotion and the running of small scale community events in Kilkenny. With a total budget of €17,000, the emphasis of the scheme is on providing funding for CommunityEvents/Development with a focus on local engagement. The Community Enhancement Programme provides grants towards capital projects andequipment to enhance facilities across the County. The programme is for locally basedcommunity and voluntary groups in disadvantaged urban and rural areas, and not-for-profit organisations.It is funded by the Department of Rural and Community Development and
administered by the Local Community Development Committees (LCDCs) in each LocalAuthority area.
Kilkenny Public Partnership Network offers grants for a variety of training and support areas, including networking, committee skills training, mentoring, conferences and community capacity building events. Organisations can apply for a grant from the €30,000 total budget provided they are a registered PPN member for more than 6 months.
Kilkenny LEADER Partnership engages with community groups that are seeking support. Community groups seeking funding for projects can submit an Expression of Interest form detailing their project and demonstrating its benefit to the Kilkenny area.
This section sets out overall recommendations for an International Cultural House. The recommendations are guided by participant voices which articulated a desire for a designated space for hosting cultural activities and the feedback from stakeholders on intercultural exchange, supports and services. Together they build a picture of the feasibility for an International Cultural House in Kilkenny.
8.1 Intercultural, Inclusion and Integration
A clear finding of the public engagement process is that members of migrant communities are less likely to engage with mainstream cultural activities in Kilkenny. There are identified barriers that explain this, such as language, finances and lack of information. However, people expressed that they attend intercultural events such as the Festival of Cultures. Without a clear invitation and offer, individuals are given the sense that an activity or event may not apply to them. It is recommended that Kilkenny should have a designated information sharing platform, a focal signposting point for intercultural activity and cultural celebrations. This will provide communication that is clear and targeted so that people can find the information that they need. Successful examples of designated sharing platforms can be found in precedent projects such as the Donegal Intercultural Platform. As a voluntary NGO, they collaborate with and represent minority communities and state agencies for intercultural inclusion. They have representatives on numerous initiatives to assist with the delivery of their programmes. By working with other organisations, they use established resources to signpost programmes and then respond to need.
During the engagement process, individuals expressed a need for more intercultural activity opportunities and that some organisations had a lack of diversity within their structure.
Mainstream cultural activities need guidance to enhance inclusivity and support in making a clear invitation to migrant communities to participate in cultural activities and events. Kilkenny County Council has initiated a new Integration Strategy developing over 2020. This report recommends Twilight Community Group put themselves forward as a stakeholder group for this strategy to work with Kilkenny County Council to promote intercultural awareness and understanding. In this way, advocacy can be coordinated, strengthening its effect and unifying its messages. As an enagaged stakeholder, Twilight Community Group can further embed their organisation in intercultural activity in Kilkenny.
8.2 Support and Education
The need for English language fluency as well as native language classes was emphasised in the engagement process and was seen as vital to a person’s sense of belonging and expression. There are multiple agencies in Kilkenny city and county offering English language classes, at present there is not an identified demand beyond current supply. However, Ireland is currently facing a potential recession as a result of COVID 19 and during previous recessions demand has significantly increased as people seek to improve language skills to secure work.
It is recommended that Twilight Group work with its members to continue to assess the need for English language classes and where there is demand, collaborate with Fáilte Isteach to meet that demand. Twilight could provide support to communities to initiate native language
classes by identifying a space for these activities to take place and providing the necessary training and safeguarding structures, this should be community- led and needs-based.
Migrants encounter many barriers to employment and the engagement process identified that work was not only vital for financial independence but also an essential factor in a person’s sense of belonging. While support to access work exists, like Kilkenny LEADER Partnership’s
Newstart programme or through government schemes, many migrant participants of the public engagement process were not aware of these services or did not know how to access them, this would further support the need for a information sharing platform. In their current
premises, Twilight Community Group has the office space and ICT resources to provide peer to peer employment support sessions. This report recommends that any initiative for employment supports is done in collaboration with Kilkenny LEADER Partnership, Local Enterprise Office
and the Fr McGrath Centre.
A clear finding of the engagement process was a need for appropriate diversity training for any organisation or individual involved in intercultural work. As is evidenced in the precedent projects, integration and anti-racism training is an emphasised necessity for those supporting
intercultural facilities and activities. All of The Lantern Centre’s volunteers receive training to enhance intercultural competence and capacity to deal with diverse client groups. This report recommends that Twilight provides diversity training to all management, staff and volunteer
A key recommendation of this report is that informal supports should not be offered as, or in place of, services. Specifically, support in immigration matters should always be provided by a trained professional. Tasks for providing such support require specific knowledge of immigration law and policy, as well as data protection and confidentiality procedures to ensure rights to privacy and discretion. For these reasons, individuals seeking support in immigration matters should always be referred to a trained professional.
Participants throughout the engagement process cited casual and structured activities as a means of social and cultural inclusion and integration, where different groups and communities could meet, celebrate and share their cultures. As well as cultural activities, supports and
services were also considered to be vital in supporting integration and inclusion. While there is value in offering both cultural activity and supports in a shared space, as people attending an activity may encounter services they would not otherwise be exposed to, privacy and
confidentiality has to be respected. Spatial planning would have to be carefully considered to accomodate all these needs. The stakeholders of the International Cultural House need to translate this into a space that is compliant with all necessary regulations that also provides a clear invitation to all communities that this is a facility that they can access. Prior to the publication of Kilkenny County Council’s 2020 Integration Strategy, an expansion of services and supports in immigration and integration at this time would be premature and it is recommended that any expansion should be delayed until the new Integration Strategy is in place so as to align with current approach and policy.
This report recommends a robust consideration of the existing facilities where intercultural activities and supports are hosted, beginning with the aim of complimenting existing activities and services in Kilkenny. This would ensure a more successful establishment of the International
Cultural House and strategically foster relationships with these existing services to enhance the supports available.
This report recommends the further development of Twilight’s Youth Group exchanges and activities. This can be done through collaborating with established youth support services such as Ossory Youth, The Drum Foróige, ensuring continued engagement from young people. This
would strengthen Twilight’s Youth Group’s Erasmus+ exchanges and the intercultural activities
it provides for its participants.
The public engagement process identified a need for a space to host certain cultural events.
This report recommends Twilight Community Group explore the potential of a social space for community events and celebration, as an affordable alternative to commercial venues, by developing an affiliation with established venues to further develop trust with marginalised
Respondents to the survey questionnaire expressed satisfaction with the broad remit of activities and expertise established to support them in the Kilkenny area. However, other elements of the public engagement process revealed unawareness of services among certain groups.
Participants brought up a need for certain activities that were, in fact, already established.
This demonstrates a need for improved inter-organisational communication and partnership.
Improved collaboration between existing organisations, and any new initiatives would ensure harmonised integration supports. It is imperative to recognise the potential to encourage further segregation through programming activities. Part of an intercultural organisation’s
remit should be to support other organisations in improving their capacity for integration and diversity in their programming. This report recommends Twilight links its activity remit with other organisations’ so as to enhance intercultural supports. A key route to achieving this is
through the development of Kilkenny County Council’s new Integration Strategy and so this report again emphasises the importance of Twilight’s active support and participation in this initiative.
8.5 Governance and Communication
The precedent project research shows that these successful examples, delivering similar remits to the proposed International Cultural House, have clear structures to their management and staffing. Communication structures, such as weekly staff and volunteer meetings, will support all working on diversity and racism awareness, and provide the opportunity to flag any issues that may arise. A designated director of the International Cultural House, with appropriate experience and qualifications in integration and community initiatives, would be able to lead the project, programme activities and manage the day to day running of the facility.
It is recommended Twilight Twilight Community Group should communicate clearly on who they are and what they do. Twilight’s website is a platform that can illustrate this. The website needs clear communication to be accessible and understandable, given the higher level of
language and literacy barriers among migrant communities.
Concise text accompanied by visual aids, video and audio could support clear communication.
The offer and invitation for the International Cultural House is extremely important for all the stakeholders and the diverse communities it will involve. These messages must have transparency and equality in communicating what the International Cultural House is, what it
offers, who it is for, and how to get involved.
The engagement process examined the conceptualisation of an International Cultural House and its components, and at the core of all activity is funding. The financial structure will influence governance, funding streams will affect the capacity for activities, and costs and expenses require clear and upfront communication. As such, from the perspectives gathered during the public engagement process and the information collected from research, this report can make recommendations with regards to the International Cultural House’s funding.
Firstly, due to participants’ concerns over inclusivity and access, this report recommends that membership fees are not introduced. This could exclude individuals and groups whose activities should be funded through grants and offered for free. This will allow potential members who
do not have financial funds to access supports and activities that are subsidised. Without membership fees, access and inclusivity are promoted without a financial barrier. There are many other funding models that the International Cultural House could explore. The research
reveals precedent projects with similar activity remits whose models could be used.
The funding research lists possible funding streams that can be accessed, either for general programming or for individual activities. The Twilight Group can also explore the viability of fundraising options. This could be organised through events, community group donations and
philanthropic donations, and crowdfunding.
Secondly, as communication was flagged as a concern during the public engagement activities, this report emphasises the importance of clarity and availability of funding and fundraising information for groups and individuals involved in the International Cultural House’s activities.
9 Conclusion and Next Steps
Many agencies, organisations and groups work alongside each other in Kilkenny to promote interculturalism and integration. These organisations provide immigration, language,employment and family support. There are also education, employment, community development and training services available. Different communities organise events, cultural activities and peer support groups. Cultural organisations provide classes, workshops, talks and performances. Throughout the public engagement process, participants highlighted the activities they participated in and the services they used, which contributed to positive experiences of inclusion amidst negative experiences of exclusion. Workshop participants
and questionnaire respondents highlighted what was important to them with regards integration and interculturalism. The importance of finding a community and language fluency was emphasised as main factors in having a sense of belonging. Cultural expression gave participants a feeling of empowerment; opportunities for individual and intercultural expression
Kilkenny is culturally rich and diverse, and this engagement process identified key organisations supporting inclusion and integration in Kilkenny, and many others acknowledging a need and expressing a will to do so. However, Kilkenny also has a history of multicultural initiatives struggling to maintain cohesion or arrive at a consensus, Kilkenny’s Integration Forum disbanded in 2015, and many other smaller initiatives or community groups have also gone This is not a phenomenon unique to Kilkenny; intercultural activity relies on the collaboration and cooperation of diverse and unique people and is challenging in its very nature.
A project as ambitious as Twilight’s proposal for an International Cultural House requires structure, clear communication and robust community buy-in. Through collaborating effectively with local agencies and community groups (Kilkenny County Council, Kilkenny LEADER Partnership,
Public Partnership Network, Father McGrath Centre and others) Twilight Community Group can work towards developing this capacity through active partnerships. To achieve this, thereport has set out the following actions as next steps.
• Develop a co-produced Working Group, with an agreed Terms of Reference and with equal and broad representation from diverse communities in Kilkenny, cultural and intercultural organisations. The Working Group will further scope, plan, implement and evaluate the potential for anInternational Cultural House in Kilkenny; as a collaboration between the community, Twilight Community Group and other cultural and intercultural organisations within the context of Kilkenny’s updated Integration Strategy.
• Position Twilight Community Group as a stakeholder group in the development of the renewed Kilkenny Integration Strategy, which aims to grow understanding around solidarity within diverse communities. Work with Kilkenny County Council to include guidance around participation in mainstream cultural events in the new Integration Strategy
• Twilight Community Group to further develop its governance, management, and operating structures to demonstrate the full remit of the organisation and its activities and how to get involved. Twilight’s website to undergo a complete redesign and toinclude the following: A clear message of who Twilight Community Group are, and what they offer. A clear model for governance, management and volunteer structure. Concise communication of activities with additional language supports such as video (where and when needed). Create and maintain an up to date platform to signpost activities and offer precise information.
• Intercultural training for all Twilight Community Group staff, board members and volunteers. The Social and Health Education Project (SHEP) offers short courses in intercultural awareness for community groups and organisations and funding can besecured through the Education Training Board or other local agencies.
• Work with partner organisations to enhance Twilight’s remit of activities to complement existing supports and services. Focus remit of supports on Twilight’s established Youth Group and Eurobug and collaborate to strengthen its programmes. Link with Ossory Youth and Foróige/The DRUM to develop a space for Twilight’s youth group to meet and to ensure continued engagement opportunities for young people. Involvement in
initiatives like the European Solidarity Corps can provide volunteer and work opportunities for people within EU member states. Organisations involved can host or support individuals in their volunteering or work.
• Engage with existing immigrant employment supports through Kilkenny LEADER Partnership, Newstart, Local Enterprise Office and Father McGrath Centre, and collaborate to expand peer support and office space supports to complement andbroaden existing services.
• Explore the potential of a social space for community events and celebration as anaffordable alternative to commercial venues. Develop an affiliation with venues to establish trust with marginalised communities. Potential venues include St. Canice’s Neighbourhood Hall, James Stephen’s GAA Club and The Home Rule Club.
Engagement Record Conversations | December 2019 – March 2020
Conversational meetings with the various stakeholders working within the remit of integration, culture and community development in Kilkenny broadened the contextual understanding of the consultation process.
Conversations with the following individuals: Martin Brennan (Twilight), Frank Cody (Twilight), Emmanuel Samuel (Twilight Youth Group), Theresa Delahunty (Immigration Supports / Fáilte Isteach), Samuel Morgan (Immigration Supports / Fáilte Isteach/ South Sudanese Community), Lindsey Butler (Community and Culture Department, Kilkenny Co. Council), Imam Ebrahim Ndure (Kilkenny Islamic Centre), Liviu Iftime (Twilight), Cristina Musat (Twilight), Syed Mustafi Rahman (Twilight/Bangladeshi Association Ireland), Tom McDonald (KLP Traveller Engagement and Supports), Ruth McEvoy (Respond), Khalood Naber (Respond), Will Kinsella (FAI), Hollie Kearns (Butler Gallery), Jenny Cooke (St Canice’s Neighbourhood Hall).
Further conversations were had with representatives from the following organisations:
GAA, Traveller Engagement and Supports, Fr McGrath Centre, KIlkenny Public Participation Network and The Intercultural Centre Clondalkin.
Visioning Workshops | St. Canice’s Community Hall, 28th January & 1st February 2020
The two visioning workshops included participants from the following agencies, organisations and community groups: Jamal Hussein (Twilight), Kamal Hussain (Twilight), Syed Rahman (Twilight), Tajahmed (Twilight), Ayubali (Twilight), MD Nazrul Islam (Twilight), Kevin Brogan (Fáilte Isteach), Agata Rybak (Twilight), Ania Adamoswka (Twilight), Lindsey Butler (Community and Culture Department, Kilkenny Co. Council), Martin Brennan (Twilight), Frank Cody (Twilight), Jenny Cooke (St Canice’s Neighbourhood Hall), Khaldoon Naber (respond), Liviu Iftime (Twilight), Stephanie McDermott (Rohingya Action Ireland and Carlow College), Devlan Anisurrahn (Twilight), Will Kinsella (FAI), Joanna Iwasiuk (FAI), Samuel Morgan (Immigrant services/Fáilte Isteach/South Sudanese Community), Wladyslaw Hanczar (Good Law Association), Mary O’Hanlin (Kilkenny Age Friendly), Betty Dewberry (Kilkenny Seniors Forum), Ruth McEvoy (Respond).
Focus Groups | Travellers Health Group and Respond Clients – Syrian Community
Traveller Health Group – 2 participants
Respond Clients – Syrian Community – 9 participants
Workhouse Union Team: Hannah McCormick, Sinead Phelan, Rosie Lynch, Lisa Lynch and Eilís Lavelle
Copy Editing Callum Johnston
Graphic Design Paul Bokslag, Rosie Lynch
Workhouse Union would like to thank Martin Brennan (Twilight Community Group, Chairperson), Frank Cody (Twilight Community Group, Secretary) and Fergus Horgan (Kilkenny LEADER Partnership) for their support and guidance throughout the process. Furthermore we would like to thank all the stakeholders including Twilight Community Group, Kilkenny County Council, Kilkenny LEADER Partnership, Football Association of Ireland, Immigration Supports Kilkenny, Immigrant and Ethnic Minority groups and individuals, Father McGrath Centre, Kilkenny Public Participation Network, Fáilte Isteach, Kilkenny Islamic Centre and Respond for their support and participation. Our sincere thanks to all who participated in the process with your vital contributions and experience. A special thank you to Jenny Cooke at St. Canice’s Neighbourhood Hall for the welcome and space for workshops.
Workhouse Union works with artists, designers, architects and crafts-people to develop projects examining housing, civic infrastructure and the commons, engaging people with the spaces and places we live.
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