Supporting community businesses to employ disadvantaged groups

AuthorDirectorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion (European Commission)
Problem addressed
Irish employment activation programmes and welfare
payment schemes focus on assisting individuals for a def‌ined
period of time to gain work experience and secure paid jobs.
However, people with disabilities, people with convictions
who are in contact with the probation service, homeless
people, those with a history of substance abuse, travellers
and long-term unemployed people oen struggle to compete
with other jobseekers in the labour market. New approaches
to supporting the employment of disadvantaged individuals
are needed, including an emphasis on job creation.
Innovative solution
The Community Services Programme (CSP) was created
in 2006 with support from the Irish Government, to create
sustainable employment opportunities for marginalised
individuals. The CSP provides organisations with funding
and capacity-building to create sustainable jobs, 70% of
which must be for people from disadvantaged groups.
Three types of organisations are eligible for funding: those
delivering community services that target disadvantaged
groups; community enterprises that employ people outside
the labour force; and community halls and facilities such as
care homes.
The CSP provides organisations with a f‌ixed annual co-
funding contribution towards the cost of employing a
manager and/or a specif‌ied number of full-time positions.
The CSP also provides organisations with a range of business
support to build and develop their capacity for sustainability
issues, business planning and ef‌fectively supporting staf‌f
from vulnerable groups.
The CSP is managed by Pobal, a governmental entity which
collects data on the demographic, recent employment
history and category of work of CSP benef‌iciaries. This
information enables further research into the challenges
vulnerable groups face when re-entering the labour market,
to inform the design of better capacity-building measures for
CSP-funded organisations.
Supporting community businesses to
employ disadvantaged groups
Community Services Programme
© Alan Curtis, 2019
Old Presbyterian church that is used for community
facilities in the Sliabh Ardagh area

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