One Donegal – Social Inclusion Week 2016 was launched by the Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council, Cllr. Terence Slowey. The launch was held in the County Museum, Letterkenny and was attended by the Chief Executive of Donegal County Council, Mr. Seamus Neely, members of the Social Inclusion Measures group (SIM) and other community representatives involved in social inclusion work.
One Donegal - Social Inclusion Week 2016 takes place from the 7th – 15th October 2016 and is a week of events which aims to highlight the very positive work being done not only by Donegal County Council but also by other statutory and community organisations in attempting to raise awareness of social inclusion related issues in Donegal.
This week of events coincides with World Mental Health week and as such there are a number of events taking place throughout the County in relating to positive mental health and well being and suicide prevention. Some examples of other themes which this year’s social inclusion week has a focus on are cultural diversity, children and youth activities, older people and their carers, disability sports and gender equality etc.
Donegal County Council is a joint partner with the HSE in a number of these events, such as the Connecting for Life Donegal Conference at 10am on Friday 7th in the inishowen Gateway Hotel, Buncrana and following on from this, the Lived Lost Lives Exhibition at 2pm in Fort Dunree, Linsfort, Buncrana.
Speaking at the event, the Cathaoirleach said: “This is what Social Inclusion Week is all about, it is about raising awareness of the needs of people who find it difficult to access services and supports and it is also about showcasing the great work that is being done by many groups and organisations working together throughout the County to ensure that we live an inclusive and equal society. The Social Inclusion Measures group is a good example of how Donegal County Council works on an interagency basis with a wide range of groups and organisations to ensure that our services and supports meet the needs of everyone in our communities.”
The Cathaoirleach also noted the problems that many older people face such as loneliness and rural isolation and highlighted the good work of the Donegal Age Friendly Alliance, in particular the Information Guide to Services for Older People in County Donegal which was launched in June this year and is available in libraries and public service centres throughout the county. The Cathaoirleach will be hosting an event in St. Shanaghan’s House, Ardara at 12.30 pm on the 10th October for older people and carers which will feature lunch and entertainment as well as information on services and supports available to older people.
Mr. Seamus Neely, Chief Executive of Donegal County Council praised the programme of events as evidence of the significant and valuable work that is going on at local level to reduce discrimination, poverty and social exclusion. He also noted the contributions of the Council’s social inclusion unit which works on an interagency basis to raise awareness, develop policies and deliver services that enhance and sustain the development of an inclusive society. “We are delighted that Social Inclusion Week has continued to grow year-on-year and I would take this opportunity thank everyone involved and to wish the week of events every success. Society grows strongly when its citizens participate and I encourage everyone to take part in the various events organised around the County throughout this week.”
Ms. Katarzyna Kurzeja of Donegal Youth Service also gave a brief talk on the work of Donegal Youth Service and on Polish Culture and the Polish community in Donegal. She highlighted the Polish Culture Evening which will be taking place on the 14th October at 6pm in the LOFT, Port Road Letterkenny as an example of promoting cultural diversity and displaying some of the aspects of Polish culture.
The event finished with tea and a lunch with samples of Polish, African, Indian and Irish food which further demonstrated the diverse cultural influences in our County today.
The One Donegal – Social Inclusion Week 2016 event programme is available from libraries and public service centres throughout the county and also via the Donegal County Council website through the following link: