Cumann na Daoine

A community based organisation in Youghal, Co. Cork, Ireland.

Humble Beginnings: Cumann na daoine

Here is a bit of history from the first public meeting held in March 1997 and how cumann na daoine came about…and how Community Development began in Youghal

Cumann na daoine started life as Youghal Community Development Group after a public meeting held in March 1997.

On March 14th 1997 a local community person invited Maria Power & Margaret McArdle, who are both community work consultants, to give a talk on community development to a public gathering in Youghal.  They gave an in-depth explanation of the Community Development Programme (CDP) which was set up by the Minister for Social Welfare in 1990.  The aim of the programme is to develop a network of community development resource centres in areas where they would be most needed in order to tackle issues of disadvantage which are poverty related.

Maria & Margaret did stress that setting up a project would be a slow process and would require a huge committement from local people. There would be a willingness needed to participate in group training & development. Approx 20 people volunteered, however, 12 people stayed in the group for nine months and put together a submission to the Community Development Programme.

Group meetings were held every couple of weeks and numerous things were achieved.  Funding was sourced to pay for training & development, the group set ground rules, took minutes, developed a good relationship & enjoyed themselves.  The group did training in social analysis, confidence building, and community development.  The group identified issues of disadvantage in the area and gathered statistics to use in the CDP application.

The group made very productive visits to cdp’s which were up and running in Ballybeg (Waterford) Knocknaheeny (Cork) and Knockanrawley (Tipperary).  Through this process they saw what a CDP was like in action.

Then in November 1997 another public meeting was held in the Holy Family Church hall to give people information about what the group were doing.  Over 90 people attended. The group gained massive support and in turn gained new members on the night.

A very detailed CDP application was submitted to the Deptarment of Social Community and Family Affairs (as it was known then) in December 1997. A lot of effort and hard work went into putting together this application both by the group members & their facilitators Maria and Margaret.  For which to this day everyone is eternally grateful for

Early in 1998 funding was received from East Cork Area Development (now SECAD) to pay a temporary part time worker and support person to work with and on behalf of the group.  For the next number of months a further training programme had been planned which included the inputs on: the legal responsiblities of being a CDP, such as becoming a limited company. Management committee roles, computer skills and team building.

At that time the group felt if they were successful in getting through to the community development programme, the Cork Community Development Institute (CCDI), (which are no longer in existence), will send them a support worker to work with the group.  At that time the group still awaited word from the Department on their application.  If successful it would be a great boost for Youghal and East Cork as there was no other community development project in the area.

Despite the problems the group faced the community was strong and there was a great spirit amongst them. That community spirit was and still is one of their strengths and no doubt what made them fight to be included in the cdp programme.

“Our immediate priority is to find and equip a premises in the town from which to begin offereing services to the community and we are in the process of trying to source funding for this endeavour.  we hope to be able to say in our annual report next year that the first community development project in Youghal and East Cork is up and running” – YCDPG & community consultants 1998

It was December 2002 before it was all offical and contracts were signed into the cdp programme.  The group stayed strong, and through that waiting period they worked from No 10 North Main street, did work plan after work plan, lobbying in the Dail so that Youghal would have its CDP and thanks to all those dedicated people it finally happened.  The Youghal Community Development Group renamed themselves Cumann na daoine and were now a limited company.  Cumann na doaine received its funding, hired a full time co ordinator and part time administrator and the rest is history….(which we will cover later)

At that time there were 180 Community Development Projects (CDPs) around Ireland and 10 support agencies funded under the Community Development Programme.  There were just 15 CDPs in 1990.

All Community Development Projects:
• Have an anti-poverty, anti-exclusion focus and promote the participation of people experiencing poverty and exclusion at all levels of the project.
• Work from community development principles and methods
• Provide support and act as a catalyst for community development activity
• Act as a resource in the communities of which they are a part
• Provide co-ordination and co-operation between community, voluntary and statutory groups in their areas
• Involve representatives of groups which experience poverty and social exclusion within their management structures.