A NEW Health and Social Care Community Employment Programme for Inishowen is the first of its kind in the country and will bring great opportunities for sustainable employment to the peninsula.

The Health and Social Care Community Employment Programme was officially launched by the Department of Social Protection(DSP) and Inishowen Development Partnership(IDP) in Buncrana this week.

The new CE Programme will bring a full-time Supervisor Job, a part-time Administrative Assistant and 18 Care Assistant Participants who will be placed in local healthcare settings, whilst also having the opportunity to complete a major QQI Healthcare Award through the scheme.

The programme will be funded by DSP but managed locally by Inishowen Development Partnership, similar to the way the current CE Childcare Programme is operated in Inishowen.

Welcoming the new scheme, Joint CEO of IDP Shauna McClenaghan said securing the innovative Health and Social Care CE Programme was a result of identified need in the community as well as a lot of discussion and collaboration between DSP and IDP staff.

“This all culminated in a successful submission to the Department to roll out the pilot programme in Inishowen,” she added.

“Through our work with various agencies and potential community settings and employers, a huge demand in the healthcare sector for more trained and experienced staff was identified.

“There is a strong tradition of caring in Inishowen and this is a lifelong learning and progression option for many. We hope to work with Donegal ETB in this regard.” explained Shauna.

Thomas Timlin [dsp] Pauline O’Connor [IDP] Seamis {DSP] Shauna McClenaghan [Joint CEO of IDP] and Sinead McDaid [IDP]

IDP’s Joint CEO McClenaghan said the organisation are once again delighted to be collaborating with DSP for the new CE Scheme, adding that they have a long and successful history of working together for the progress of Inishowen.

Similarly, Assistant Principal Officer with the Department of Social Protection, Seamus Wilhare along with local DSP Community Development Officer Thomas Timlin were very supportive of this initiative and noted that ‘with IDP’s proven track record’ they had every faith that a great CE Programme would be delivered for the people of Inishowen.

“This Health and Social Care CE Programme is the first of its kind in the country and we are delighted that we are able to work with IDP to deliver this scheme for the people of Inishowen,” Seamus added.

“There will be a lot of work getting it off the ground but I’ve great confidence that my colleagues in DSP in Buncrana, together with the experience within IDP that they will deliver a great scheme here in Inishowen.”

The new CE participants will continue to receive support from the Department in terms of childcare, medical card and other household benefits they were entitled to when coming into the programme.

Thomas Timlin, local DSP Community Development Officer, said they ensure the participants are supported by their employers as they completed the major healthcare awards.  

“Through the Community Employment Programme participants can gain hands-on experience, one to one support from their employers and be given a wonderful opportunity to gain a major healthcare award in a supportive environment,” added Thomas.

Recruitment for the new supervisors position has now begun and it is expected that the scheme itself will commence in the coming weeks.