At the heart of the community, SICCDA awaits return to normality

A COMMUNITY-BASED development association in the heart of the Liberties is striving to provide a range of services despite the shutdown.

The South Inner City Community Development Association (SICCDA) is based in three locations at Meath Street, South Earl Street and the Coombe, and provides an eclectic mix of educational and social programmes.

SICCDA also provides a number of social club outlets for older residents of the Liberties.

Despite the current lockdown of businesses and training facilities, SICCDA continues to serve the Dublin 8 community with information and assistance using phone, email and social media.

“We normally provide five main programmes, as well as some social club outlets. SICCDA administrator, Aine Nally, said. “Unfortunately, because of Covid-19, all our staff are currently working from home. All classes, groups and other services have been closed and will remain so, for the foreseeable future. However, local residents can still stay in touch during the crisis.”

Founded in 1982, SICCDA is an intrinsic part of the fabric of the Liberties community. The association, which operates with a board made up of local residents and volunteers, is committed to and is actively involved in tackling the social, educational, health, economic and environmental problems facing the local community.

SICCDA’s mission is to help create and maintain a community where people, particularly those who historically have been excluded, feel valued, welcomed and useful.

In normal times, SICCDA’s programmes include: an afterschool programme, providing daily afterschool childcare to approximately 150 children; the Liberties Youth Group, catering for nine- to 14-year-olds; the Liberties Club, which manages the National Garda Youth Diversion Project for older teenagers.; the Local Training Initiative Programme, helping people from the local community to upgrade their work skills in order to become more employable, including a recognised qualification in retail skills; a community development programme to promote social justice and improve the quality of life in the area; and a community employment scheme, with 20 places, to help long-term unemployed people.

On the social side of things, SICCDA runs three different social clubs, namely a Liberties Men’s Group, a Liberties Women’s Group and an Over-55’s Social Club. Activities provided for these social clubs, include personal development, meditation, day trips, art, dance, health and fitness, nutrition, DIY, baking, clothes design, basic IT skills, social media training, film nights out and history projects. The Liberties Men’s Group has  recently acquired an allotments space for growing their own fruit and vegetables.

“Even though we are unable to provide the physical programmes and supports at the moment, due to the pandemic, we are still connected to the local community by the various media that we have set-up,” Nally said. “We hope to provide the best possible service to people, under the circumstances, until things return to normal.”