The ISPCC Integration service is a new and developing project which works with families who seek International Protection in Ireland and, as a result, end up in Direct Provision while their application is being processed. This application can take many months or even years to be fully processed. This creates stress and anxiety for families, which are already marginalised and vulnerable.
The Integration Service is developing in line with three guiding principles: that the word ‘integration’ be interpreted as ‘belonging’, that all integration projects / events are identified and developed from the grassroots and that the projects which are successfully developed are sustainable, long-lasting and championed by residents within Mosney.
This integration service is being developed to primarily support families who reside in an Accommodation Centre at Mosney, Co. Meath. The service proposes to establish a peer support framework, using a Community Navigator model. This model will be aimed at those who are initially entering the Direct Provision promoting integration, empowerment and capacity-building from the earliest of stages. Community Navigators will support new residents to make positive links to the local community and connect them with relevant services.
This Community Navigator model will consist of up to six residents, from a diversity of backgrounds, committing to volunteer with the ISPCC Integration Service on-site. The volunteering residents will be termed ‘Community Navigators’ and will be trained and supported by the Integration Officer. Their role will be to welcome new residents to Mosney, by promoting peer-support and guidance in relation to support services both in Mosney and in the local community. They will also serve as a helpful point of contact for those who may have poor English language proficiency and need initial support and guidance in their own cultural language.
It is envisaged that the Community Navigator Service will be delivered in three stages:
1. Suitable Community Navigators will be identified, trained and vetted. It is envisaged that Community Navigators would attend orientation meetings with new residents at Mosney and that the Mosney welcome leaflet would include a brief outline of the Community Navigators’ service. Once Community Navigators are active, the Integration Officer will provide ongoing weekly group supervision to address any challenges with integration.
2. Residents who engage with the Community Navigators will be given the opportunity to identify what type of integration project should take place either on-site, or in the local community. Once a common interest has been identified, the Community Navigator will carry out an initial assessment. Further action will be taken by the Integration Officer to support the creation of the project through close consultation with residents.
3. As part of a befriending programme, suitable befrienders will be identified within the local community and will go through clearance checks and training. Residents will subsequently be matched with suitable befrienders from the local community who can assist with their integration.