Cross Sectoral Collaboration to support Ukrainian refugees

Mayo is a largely rural county located on the western coast of Ireland. Its coastline is indented with cliffs and peaks while inland County Mayo is set with blanket bogs and two great lakes Lough Conn and Lough Mask. It is a region that has a history of emigration rather than immigration which is a rather recent phenomenon.

Because of its rural profile and related demographic challenges rural-urban migration, rural schools in Mayo have benefitted significantly from the influx of migrants, as migrant children are saving Irish schools from closing. In Ireland, 91% of Ukrainian children aged 15 to 18 are enrolled in the Irish School system.
Mobility being key to being able to access services, work and meet, a transport supports system for Ukrainian refugees was implemented in Ireland. Local Link Mayo, the regional transport programme provided 12,632 passenger journeys from November to March. Mayo also introduced Community Cars, to transport refugees that are accommodated in rural areas.

As a tourist county, Mayo has a great tradition of welcoming people from all over the world. The region decided to create a taskforce, similar to what had been organised during Covid-19, bringing together key stakeholders, including the Council, NGOs’, Government departments, Community Representatives and Ukrainians. The task force holds regular meetings with updates, where issues are discussed. The Task Force facilitates cross collaboration and is solution-focused.

Ireland, introduced an ‘Offer A Home’ Scheme which utilised non-principal properties (mainly holiday homes) and Mayo is recognised as one of the most successful Counties.

Mayo further introduced a Recognition Fund for communities that took in significant numbers of Ukrainian Refugees. The fund aims to support the development of community infrastructure and facilities in recognition of communities hosting new arrivals from Ukraine and other countries (Temporary Protection and/or International Protection Applicants). To be considered for funding under this Programme, communities must have:

  • Projects specifically targeted in communities/villages/towns where beneficiaries of Temporary Protection and / or International Protection are hosted, including towns identified for rapid build homes programme.
  • ‘Shovel-Ready’ Projects, with all necessary permissions and consents in place

Projects must directly address local needs and be capable of being delivered over the course of 2023 and 2024, in line with dates set by the Department of Rural and Community Development.
The presentation shared at the Includ-EU workshop 5 is available under this link.

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