What is the Inishowen Family Action Network (IFAN)?

Inishowen Family Action Network (IFAN) was set up in 2007 in response to research commissioned by the HSE and carried out with children, young people, their families and the agencies and organisations supporting them across Inishowen.  This identified a need for a more collaborative approach to supporting families in all spheres of their lives. The aim is to create an environment for a joined up and integrated approach to supporting parents and those in parenting roles, children, and young people living in Inishowen.

Hosted by Inishowen Development Partnership (IDP), IFAN demonstrates a high level of interagency working and meaningful collaboration.  IFAN is currently the host for the Child and Family Support Network (CFSN) under TUSLA Prevention Partnership and Family Support (PPFS), Sláintecare Healthy Communities in Inishowen, the Community Health Forum and linking with the HSE Community Healthcare Network in the area. IFAN is an open and welcoming network of stakeholders and service providers in the Inishowen Peninsula.

The Objectives have been agreed as follows:

  • To maximise opportunities for collaboration and deliver Family Support services and Community Health more effectively and efficiently
  • To work together to identify new and widening gaps in services and provision
  • To meet regularly to share information and update members on relevant issues/projects and work that are pertinent to the Network’s Vision
  • To raise awareness of current issues and challenges and facilitate the coordination of service delivery
  • To collaborate on the development of the most relevant and appropriate delivery mechanisms needed to respond to family support needs and building healthy communities
  • To host the TUSLA PPFS Child and Family Support Network in the area
  • To collaborate on the development and delivery of Sláintecare Healthy Communities across Inishowen
  • To host the HSE Community Health Forum for Inishowen and work with the developing Community Healthcare Network in the area

Who is involved in IFAN?

IFAN includes a range of services and supports working with and for children, young people, families and the community in Inishowen. These range from those in the community and voluntary sector, funded services, statutory agencies, schools, youth sector. On average 30 active attending members and a mailing list of over 100 individual reps from above groups.  IDP chairs these meetings, alongside administrative and communication role as well, sharing out regularly on member activities and other information of relevance. Collaborative interventions have included: –

  • Establishing a sub-group and supporting families impacted by Defective Concrete Blocks/MICA – set up in 2021 and ongoing
  • Coordinating and hosting seminars – e.g. Managing Anxiety in Children and Minding Your Mental Health.
  • Coordination of training and development opportunities e.g. National Separation Network; Sláintecare Healthy Communities; Rainbows; Community Resilience Training; etc,
  • Responding to newcomer community member’s needs – established IFAN Community Integration Subgroup in 2024 – sub-group to support integration and connect communities, with a priority focus on refugees and asylum seekers

The impact to date is amplified by the level of engagement and collaboration and that joined up synergistic approach that is based on evidence, targeted, and coordinated.

The Team in IDP responsible for IFAN includes: –

  • Patricia Lee  – Team Lead for Resilience and Well-being
  • Claire Doherty  – Resilience and Well-being Administrator
  • Denise McCool  – Team Lead for Community Development and Environment
  • Rachel Grant  – Community Development – Administrator & Project Support Worker