Valerie Murphy, CEO of Avondhu Blackwater Partnership, explains how the company is busy this January adapting its services to ensure the consistent delivery of its programmes to local communities.  

The Community Service Programme’s phone befriending service for older people has been expanded to cater for the growing numbers of people feeling isolated and lonely during these difficult times. 

The Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme is looking at the different ways its supports can be delivered to the local community where face to face contact at least for the moment is not a proposition. Staff are currently in the process of looking at the possibility of migrating training courses to an online setting. CV training and information on personal development courses and up-skilling are now being delivered for the most part by phone and email.

The Tús and RSS Community Employment Programmes are still actively recruiting in 2021. While Avondhu Blackwater Partnership has been able to keep its level of participants at a consistently high level throughout the pandemic it has meant significant restructuring of work practices to facilitate social distancing and safety protocols for participants. There has been great cooperation between Tús supervisors and placement providers to implement home working for participants where it is feasible to do so.

While the current Leader Programme was coming to its conclusion in 2020, Avondhu Blackwater Partnership was busy getting funding committed to its new projects. On the back of this in December the Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys, announced details of the Transitional Leader Programme. The Transitional LEADER Programme will bridge a gap between the wind-up of the current 2014-2020 LEADER Programme and the start of the next EU programme, which is not likely to commence until 2023. It will provide an initial allocation of €20 million to support locally-led rural development. The Transitional programme is due to come into effect in April 2021. Avondhu Blackwater Partnership will release further details on this funding at a later date.

Avondhu Blackwater Partnership’s offices are open by appointment only where all HSE Covid 19 guidelines are in operation. Staffs contact details are available on the website