Twilight Community Group CLG
Authored by: Martin Brennan.
1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
The Twilight Community Group is a registered Charity working in the Area of Social Inclusion, Integration and Community Development. We began as a one person one project hobby and it now has developed into an organization with European Partners through our Charter of friendship protocols that are accepted and the basis for many agreements in Europe including the guidelines for the Twinning Agreement, we spear headed, between Kilkenny City & Malbork Poland. We have forged fantastic relationships between our Twilight group and foreign embassies here in Ireland and Irish embassies throughout Europe and recently the Moroccan Embassy as we signed a Charter of friendship agreement with the Municipal District of Tiznit
Our aim is to eliminate stigmatization of all community groups by bring them together under the banner and a place to meet , get assistance and an education called the International Cultural House therefore eliminating the labels that we have given our communities , Migrant , Immigrant refugee , disadvantage etc We believe this is the way forward to have a fully integrated , socially inclusive Irish Society welcoming all to begin a life here to prosper, develop and contribute to the Irish Economy and Society without the barriers of labelling and stigmatization.
The following presentation will give you an insight to the Twilight Community Groups, Ethos, members, awards received and development plans.
If you require additional information, please do not hesitate to Contact me directly
Mr Martin Brennan,
1.1 MAIN PRODUCTS & SERVICES
Integration / Social Inclusion & Community Development Group:
Story behind the Formation of the Twilight Community Group
Reason For the programmes was my personal Situation. Health was deteriorating. Lost all but 180cm of my bowel and on January 24th, 2014 I was given 3 weeks to live. A Liver transplant was required. It was April 24th before I finally got a transplant. 6 months later I arrived home in a wheelchair and the prognosis was fluid intake to replace fluid output. Basically, become a house- bound invalid and that is not in my nature. I decided to start working in the community as a volunteer. This led to the formation of the Twilight Community Group.
Description of what we do. This is our mission statement. .
Twilight Community Group was established for the promotion, integration and social inclusion of communities focusing on the needs of immigrants, ethnic minorities, disadvantaged and disability groups. We will do this by organizing and providing support for education, exchange programmes, festivals, exhibitions, workshops, arts training, performances and other cultural events, all of which will be available for free or at minimum cost. The organization covers Kilkenny & the South East region, incorporating our European connections,
The Twilight Community Group is a not for profit organisation
In 2015 we developed our Integration Network Protocols. Our template is now the accepted standard by all the groups with whom we work locally, nationally and internationally.
Our Protocols cover the following areas:
Arts & Cultural
Citizens Involvement Programmes
General Advice Agencies (Locally and Nationally)
Funding Streams (Locally, Nationally and European)
Twilight International Cultural House
Based on our research data and from the knowledge garnered from engagement with local International Communities we recognize that to have a fully integrated Socially Inclusive society we must engage with all the communities separately and collectively. By doing this we can remove the labels which we now place on our International Communities, Migrant, Immigrant, Refugee, Alyssum Seeker, disadvantaged etc. Many of the communities feel that this labelling is a form of stigmatisation and a major disadvantage when applying for work or supports.
In our Survey we found that after language, discrimination and public opinion were the key obstacles faced by the international community as they attempted to integrate fully into their new communities.
After studying our Survey and after consultation with the Community Groups in question our Board proposed establishing the Twilight International Cultural House. This will operate in Kilkenny and a successful outcome to this project will see it replicated Nationwide. Supporting this assertion is the fact that we already have had primary enquiries from Waterford and Laois.
Our positive interaction and involvement with local communities, migrant and immigrant communities ensure that these groups reap the benefit of our endeavours.
In Kilkenny during 2018 we held the internationally recognized conference on ‘The Stigmatization of Migrants’. This proved to be an outstanding success with 15 nations attending. Allied to this Ambassadors and senior official from European countries attended and addressed the conference. Aware of these growing markets and utilising our ‘Networking of Towns’ programme we will actively support opportunities for foreign growth. Our approach is from the bottom up. This allows us to engage with all community leaders both at home and abroad confident that we possess the knowledge relevant to the requirement of the people. This unique source of information allied to our in-depth market research enhances this invaluable insight.
The Twilight Community Group has experienced personnel with the ability and acumen to ensure the Twilight International Cultural House will be a successful venture. The future will see the project expand. Initially this will be within the area covered by the South East Polish Consulate. Later, the model will develop nationwide. All our trained volunteers are committed to ensuring the International Cultural House delivers our ethos of integration and social inclusion.
DETAILS OF KEY PERSONNEL
Board of Directors.
Chair Martin Brennan,
Secretary Frank Cody
Board of Management:
Chair: Martin Brennan (Trustee)
Vice Chair: Philip Brennan
Secretary: Frank Cody (Trustee)
Operations Manager: Louise Bourke (Trustee)
Ania Adamowska (Trustee)
Syed Mustafis Rahman (Trustee)
Patrick O’Neill (Trustee)
Volunteering and cultural activities.
Without Volunteers it is very hard for any community group to grow and provide services. We in-vite all to participate in our programmes as volunteers. The Twilight community Group has a di-verse range of areas of interest. This is very advantages as people can volunteer in one of our de-partments that is of interest to the own ethos for volunteering. Our departments include,
Department of Trade Commerce and Industry (Mr Patrick O’ Neill)
Department of Arts / Culture and Higher education Design and Innovation Departments (Mr Philip Brennan)
Department of Youth Affairs / Sports/ Schools (Mr Emanuel Samuel)
Department of Grants and Funding (Mr Martin Brennan)
Department of Exchange Programmes Juniors and Senior Students (Ms Louise Bourke)
Seniors and Residents Associations (Mr John Coonan)
Department of Community Affairs (Mr Frank Cody)
Ambassador to Poland (Mrs Ania Adamowska)
Ambassador to Asia / Africa (Mr Syed Mustafis Raman)
Associated Consultant to Italy (Prof Marino Vacca)
Associated Consultant to Scandinavia (Ms Lotta Virrkunne)
Associated Consultant to Romania (Liviu Iftime)
Associated Consultant to North America (Mr Tim Brennan)
Because of this vast array of departments and country’s communities we are in contact with gives opportunities to volunteers to expand their horizons and cultural understandings. We welcome all to volunteer with the Twilight Community Group
• Increasing mutual understanding between host communities and immigrants;
The Twilight Intercultural House promotes the Mutual understanding and respect for all national-ities and community groups with Host Communities. Our House is open to all regardless of back-ground, social standing, religion or personal beliefs. We will have an International Culture’s library where the History and cultural Writings are available to all as we encourage all communities to integrate and develop an understanding of each other’s beliefs and cultures. We believe the lack of the “Unknown” creates misunderstandings and leaves cultures open to xenophobic social media postings and false statements driven by the writers misunderstanding of other’s beliefs which leads to exclusion, fear, isolation and in the extreme cases violence towards other Nationalities than their own. We will involve educational, cultural, guest speakers to hold discussion evenings about their Communities for all members to discover the identity and facts on all communities, including Host and International Communities to increase mutual understanding between all nationalities
• Combating racism and xenophobia;
The Twilight Community group are and have been actively involved in the area of combating rac-ism and xenophobia. We held an International Conference on “The Stigmatisation of Migrants” in October 2018. This Conference was attended by 15 different nationalities. Guest Speakers from Immigrant Council of Ireland, Direct Provision, FAI, Failte Isteach, Local Representatives Ambassa-dors from Poland, Morocco. We also held an online survey which highlighted the need for an Inter-national Cultural house to Combat racism and xenophobia. Executive member of the National Green party Mr Malcom Noonan Spoke on the rise of Xenophobia
By having all Nationalities including Irish disadvantage groups coming together under one label of International Cultural House will remove the labelling of Immigrant, Migrant, Refuge asylum seek-er, etc, replacing it with the one Grouping of International Cultures. While protecting each cul-ture’s own identity, Culture, History, Arts, language our main aim is to get all members and na-tionalities to promote Intercultural Activities in our Twilight International Cultural House. Inter-cultural Activities will combat the racism and xenophobia that is now developing with the right-wing political views on the rise throughout Europe as Twilight through our International Cultural house promote just one race, The Human Race the face of Nature
• Facilitating language acquisition aimed at enabling immigrants to access employment and / or to integrate into their local communities;
Our Survey during the International Conference on Stigmatisation of Migrants 2018 highlighted language as a major key challenge to integration and employment with Discrimination the second must common key factor. We in our International Cultural House will be providing English classes for beginners right up to the level required to be ready for full employment opportunities when required. Part of programme will include English language books and IT programmes in our Cul-tural Library.
We are promoting a programme for Empowering women to Maximise their potential in areas of self-development and employment. This Programme is open to all nationalities and communities. This was a topic of discussion with Ireland’s Ambassador to Poland on a visit February 2019 to the Irish embassy in Poland as it is her and the embassy’s aim to show the major contributions women have made to Society and to empower our women of today. On this visit H.E Emar O’ Connell wit-nessed our Charter of Friendship agreement with the Municipal District and Council of Malbork Poland.
1. As we are involved in the Communities and the Migrant Communities of the Region. we wish to ensure the advancement in employment for Women of our Communities to Empower this sector of society to receive equality and maximise their potential by providing Education support through our Associate Consultant Daniela Kocis Fitzgerald Assoc.CIPD, BA(HONS) HRM
Director, HR Dept Fingal.
2. We will Develop our selected Participants in the following Areas of self-wellbeing and Per-sonal development Increasing employability of immigrants and encouraging progression in the workplace
• Build basic job readiness skills – CV, interview skills etc – Increase job placements
• Increase employment experience – basic employment rights and career counselling – in-crease job retention
• Career counselling
• Encourage access to education – language skills, Life skills, career paths and a positive role model
1. Empowering women into leadership and self-employment
• Integration into the local business community
• Networking for success
• Promoting your business and building brand awareness
• Social selling skills.
• Leadership skills and executive coaching that will empower women to le better leaders and promote career progression
• Life Coaching (Mr Frank Cody Director Twilight Community Group)
• Public Speaking (Mr Martin Brennan Chairperson/Director/ Polish Consular)
Our Programmes will include access for members to our secretarial services for CV writing, Inter-view Techniques, Public Speaking.
All off the above will be available to all communities and genders. The empowering Women Pro-gramme will in turn be a template for to help empower all members of our Communities to in-crease, employment, social Inclusion and effective integration in to Irish society and displaying to all the contributions Nationalities can make to a Modern Ireland’s open and inclusive society
• Promoting the integration into Irish society of vulnerable or socially-excluded immi-grants;
Over the Past decade Ireland has experienced an influx of foreign Nationals to our country. This can have a very positive effect on our economy and society and Community Life both rural and ur-ban. To maximise our new Neighbours contribution to Society we must be an open and inclusive society encouraging and provide programmes for to develop full Integration in to our way of life while still respecting other culture’s interests and beliefs.
During our Conference and on-Line survey 98% believed Sport was an excellent way to promote integration as sport is a Universal language. The Twilight Community Group run Integration Soc-cer Tournaments in conjunction with the Football Association of Ireland who have issued a letter of recommendation / endorsement for our work in Integration through Football. We are the or-ganiser of the Polska Eire festival now in its 5th edition. We promote this as a full integration Fes-tival for all the Nationalities relocated to Ireland. We believe these individuals are part of our Irish communities. Each year the participation from our immigrant, socially excluded and vulnerable communities has increased.
We close the festival with an Intercultural Family day in conjunction with the Newpark Resident’s association Kilkenny, whom we assisted in their formation stage through the estates 60th anniver-sary and continue to support through fund raising and senior Programmes. All nationalities are invited to integrate and promote their arts / cultural and crafts to all on the day.
The International Cultural House will encourage the promotion of each Nationalities festival days while building to one major festival per annum where it will be a full International Cultural festi-val. We must show everyone we are a welcoming society and a tolerant one. This promotion of Cul-tural differences and similarities will be a visual and inter active way to encourage Integration and social inclusion.
Our survey highlighted the issue of public perception of Immigrants, Migrants as an obstacle to in-tegration. This, as previously mentioned, is the fear of the unknown. The survey also highlighted the lack of general public knowledge of the difference between Migrant, Immigrant, Asylum Seeker and what direct provision provides those in these centres. By have an Intercultural House and in-viting all communities to participate will assist in dispelling these misconceptions and allow for better understanding to help promote integration into Irish Society. The Twilight International Intercultural House will be a centre of excellence promoting, and assisting, in the education of all about integration , social Inclusion so Host communities can make decisions on a fact based knowledge rather than xenophobic social media postings and false statements driven by the writ-ers misunderstanding of other’s beliefs which leads to exclusion, fear, isolation and in the extreme cases violence towards other Nationalities than their own
• Providing training to public and private sector organisations on equality and integration;
Through Consultants and panels, we are setting up will be able to hold seminars open to the Public & Private Sector. Our International Integration Protocols, which are the bases of all our Charter of Friendship agreements, set the template for our programmes. The “Sector of Interests” in our protocols are,
Arts & Cultural
Citizens Involvement Programmes
General Advice Agencies (Locally and Nationally)
Funding Streams (Locally, Nationally and European)
We will also be providing a pre vetted Legal Panel of Solicitors to assist are our Communities in all legal and citizenship activities. This Panel will give the first consultation free and if agree represen-tation the cost will be agreed prior to engagement of services to avoid any misunderstandings dur-ing the term of services to our member.
Other sectors where we can provide training in equality and integration will be based on the areas of development in the Twilight Intercultural Cultural House are,
We are determined to set up our International Cultural House with the following
International Cultural Library
Business support and Advice
Financial Advice both Personal & Business
Panel of Solicitors to provide Legal advice at a fair and agreed Costs
Each Groups Own Cultural Actives to preserve cultures and traditions
Language Programmes both English and own to assist Children to speak to Family members in their own country ie gran parents
Development of International Activities through our European Networks
Development of our sector of Interests in our Integration protocols
Development of an Intercultural House Board Of management
To create Positions to employ people on fulltime positions
Education programmes that the “New” Board feel is of advantage to our Overall Member-ship
To be an open, Inclusive Cultural House which will also accommodate Irish Groupings in-cluding Disadvantage and Minority Community Groups
Our Twilight International Cultural House will provide the highest standard available to all com-munities and training programme to the Private and Public services.
We are also developing a Business Award Programme for all Businesses who promote Integration and Positions of quality employment for International and disadvantage communities. This award will be driven by the Employees who will recommend their employer for the award. Presentation of this new prestige Integration Business award at our International Conference held during October each year.
• Providing information and support for immigrants regarding access to services;
The Twilight International Cultural House will serve as a HUB to assist Immigrants will all the supports required to become part of their new home and society. This will range from educational supports, including language, financial advice, Advice on how to access the assistance programmes that are available to Immigrant and Migrant communities to gain fulltime employment and or, adult education programmes. Business Support for entrepreneurs wishing to develop new business ideas, CV and Job searching assistance, secretarial support. And all general enquiries our Interna-tional Cultures request. We plan for the Intercultural house to have its own Board of Management under our Supervision with each nationality and community group represented so our services will be based on their requests and concerns which will give us a socially inclusive programme of events and activities.
• Providing information and support for immigrants regarding immigration and citizen-ship;
As the aim for immigrants and Migrant communities is to eventually gain Irish Citizenship. Through our panel of solicitors, we will make available all the support and documents require to pursue this important aim. We will also invite public services bodies and representatives to hold seminars in our Cultural House conference room to inform our members with the vital infor-mation they request. In our International conference “Stigmatisation of Migrants” where 15 dif-ferent nationalities participated, we had the Immigrant council of Ireland address the gathering on the obstacles facing immigrant groups to full integration. They will be invited to hold seminars in our conference room and to the International Conference 2019 which will be addressing the findings of the on-line survey held during the 2018 International Conference.
Our Life Coach Mr Frank Cody will be available to provide group and on a one to one support to all Immigrants, Migrants and disadvantaged communities. All the relevant Information will be availa-ble through our International cultural library which will contain a section on Immigration and pathway to citizens information
• Promoting integration in schools;
Our Children have no misconceptions of other cultures and Nationalities. To our children the boy/girl from another country or continent is just another friend or playmate. During our activi-ties in our Polska Eire festivals we hold a child and family day for all communities. From viewing these activities, the children are integrating as Friends.
Through our Integration though soccer programme will be holding under age games in this year’s Polska / Eire Festival inviting team from clubs, schools & community groups to participate locally one weekend with the winners representing the Kilkenny region in the Polska / Eire All Ireland Cup Finals.
During our Previous and Planned activities, we invite and encourage the participation of all school’s transition year students to inform us of their views and after the event relay our findings and their personal experiences to the other students in their respective schools. We have a planned programme which we hope to present to TYS where members of our communities in the Interna-tional Cultural house will do brief presentation and take Q&A sessions on a visit to each school. Each School will be invited to come to our International Cultural House and experience / view and participate and assist in the services we supply. We see TYS as a possible vital cog in the wheel of Integration and assist in the IT training of our Immigrant and Migrant communities. By Participa-tion of current “Irish” students, it will, through their personal experiences of involvement assist in the Integration policy through schools Programme.
• Promoting integration in the youth sector;
The Twilight Community Group has a Youth & Sport Ambassador Emanuel Samuel. Emanuel is currently attending college in Waterford IT and oversees our Youth development programme. He is the lead Consultant of the Twilight Community Group in any of the Erasmus Plus Programmes. He and the Group and building a Programme through our International Contacts with Youth for Eu-rope, Cevos, Romania, Euro Bug Ltd in “Connecting Cultures through Community Action” which will be highlighted and promote Integration into our host communities
Promoting integration in the workplace;
Promoting integration in the workplace is a vital ingredient to full integration and assist in mak-ing our society fully inclusive. This Integration will allow our Immigrant and Migrant groups to contribute fully to our economy and lead a full a successful personal and family life
The Twilight International Cultural House is developing an Award programme where the employ-ees will recommend their employer for this prestige Award to the highlight their progressive, In-clusive, equal rights opportunities for an employee regardless of Nationality, greed, believes religion or background. This award will be presented on a yearly basis at our International Conference in front of the diverse participants and representatives from the Public and Private sector with wide-spread national and international exposure. All employers will be invite to seminars to listen to what is required of them to promote Integration in the work place including the advantages gained and also to address the members of the Intercultural house presenting the advantages for immigrant , migrant , disadvantage groups to come consider their business as a career choice offer a fully and inclusive progressive programme to all nationalities.
Promoting the involvement of immigrants in sport,
In our recent on-line survey 98.2 % of the replies stated yes integration through sport is an excel-lent way to involve all communities on the road to fully integration. Sport is the universal language and we are endorsed and recommend for our work in integration through the Football Association of Ireland Integration through soccer Programme which includes language classes
73% said it was a great tool to social inclusion. While 68 % feel our National Sports bodies do enough for to support Integration and social Inclusion only 37% have participate in integration/ social inclusion programmes provided.
We promote integration through sport in our festival programmes. The Polska Eire Festival is now encouraging all communities regardless of background and nationality to participate and this year see this approach to be introduced Nationwide based on the results The Twilight Community Group have gained in previous activities including the FAI/Twilight Integration World cup which saw 8 different nations represented as the African Nations team winning out against the defending champions the host Nation Community Ireland . In 2019/20 we are researching the possibility of a Futsal International Integration League under the banner and support of the FAI as an Interna-tional Cultural House activity.
When the International Cultural House’s Board of management is in place under our guidance the topic of integration through sport will be on the agenda to expand the programme to other sports that the Board feel will assist in the Integration of our communities with the Host Community.
It is the aim of the Twilight Community group to assist and support all communities through our integration and social inclusion programmes by providing equal opportunities to all, regard-less of nationality, beliefs or cultural background. This will assist full development into commu-nity life with the opportunity to develop and become valuable members of an integrated society. Twilight, through our International Cultural House can project an image of Ireland to Europe and beyond as an open, inclusive and welcoming Country
Mr Martin Brennan,
Twilight Community Group
Kilkenny Leader Partnership Co Financial letter Link