What is RAPID Northside

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What is RAPID Northside?

The Dublin Northside RAPID area is located in the North suburbs off the N32 and Malahide Road It is made up of two parts one containing the large local authority estates of Darndale, Belcamp and Moatview and the second near the Northside Shopping Centre around the Bunratty Maisonettes. There is also a significant Traveller population also located in northern part of the area off the N32.

The programme was designed to have three distinct expected outcomes; increased investment, prioritisation of existing investment and services and service integration. Each area was also asked to drawn up plan setting out its priorities to meet these outcomes and to address the social exclusion problems and disadvantage for its area [see history]. This was done using a partnership model where a local Area Implementation Team (AIT) composed of local community representatives; State agencies and the local partnership company developed an area action plan. The programme was set up in late 2001 and was originally scheduled to run for five years and a review of the programme recommended its continuance and the refocusing of actions on seven strategic themes. During the first phase of the programme it is estimated that in excess of €5 million in additional investment was attracted to the area providing physical improvements which addressed issues such as road safety and Estate Enhancement as well as providing new premises and facilities such as playgrounds. 

Recent Developments.

During 2008 some €232,000 was allocated to schools serving children from the RAPID areas. The seven schools, St. Eithne’s Senior GNS, St. Mary's National school, Channel college, Our Lady Immaculate Senior NS, St. Francis Senior NS, St. Joseph's NS and Scoil Chaitriona received grants of between €9,300 and €47,000. Another funding initiative of the RAPID Area Implementation Team (AIT) was grants totalling €179,330 funded from the Dormant Accounts fund. Six groups and eight projects benefited with grants ranging from €3,000 to €76,000. The eight projects are the New Life Centre Darndale (operational funding for two years and a Youth sports programme), the Jig Saw Project Darndale (New External Playground and a Youth activities programme), the Belcamp Estate Steering Committee (alterations to premises), the Football Association of Ireland (local training programme), Darndale Futsal League (training programme), and the Darndale Boxing Club (equipment and training costs). Funding was also provided to the ‘Celebrate Life Week’ had a series of events used to reinforce purpose and meaning for those affected by youth death and suicide. By addressing such sensitive issues rather than shying away, it can give the caregivers and those affected by youth death and suicide the courage and strength to continue in raising awareness, not just of these issues, but in looking after their own physical and mental well being. During the week in excess of 700 people engaged in 24 different activities, organised as a result of the co-operation of more than 20 agencies/organisations.

  • A key priority for the RAPID team was the new Youth Facility located beside the Darndale/Belcamp Village Centre, which is now fully operational. It provides a range of services for young people. Over €1 million for this facility was prioritised through the Young People Service & Facilities fund while Dublin City Council also provided funding for this project.
  •  Funding was provided to “Celebrate Life” an initiative committed to taking meaningful action on suicide and youth death, highlighting the need, not to shrink away from issues, but to celebrate and care for each other and to give hope and purpose to those affected by youth death and suicide An Art competition (left) was just one of the many activities during the week.


Laying the groundwork for the future.

A key part of the activities of the AIT has been the preparation of Strategic Actions plans under seven agreed as part of the review of the programme. To date plans have been prepared for the Community Safety, Family Support and Health themes while work is currently underway on the Education and Physical Infrastructure themes. As part of this process the Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs (the lead Department for the programme) has provided dedicated funding through what is called ‘leverage funding’ a co-funded mechanism where another Department or agency matches the Departments funds effectively doubling the impact.

A number of key projects and facilities have been identified as part of this process but mindful of not creating false expectations particularly in these extremely difficult financial times, projects have where practical been linked to funding sources. In other cases a step-by-step approach has been taken. This is particularly important for new facilities where the initial step would be a feasibility and consultation process, followed if the proposal was deemed viable with an architectural design and planning process. Wide-ranging consultations and visits to similar premises are a key part of these steps. Under this system the stakeholders commit themselves to only to one step at a time and indeed using this process it is possible for the community to realise and decide that there are other options other than the new facility. Only after the first two steps are taken will the building move on to the final design and ender stage.

Work is also under the way in strengthening the democratic mandate of the programme by strengthening the community representations and by engaging with and encouraging involvement of the local development groups such as Family Resource Centres and Community Developments Projects, which will now be represented on the AIT.

Embedding the concept of Social Inclusion.

RAPID is a Social Inclusion programme, designed, directed and delivered at local level. It follows the key element of Social Inclusions which is Ensuring the marginalised and those living in poverty have greater participation in decision making which affects their lives, allowing them to improve their living standards and their overall well-being. In addition to developing our strategic action plans the AIT is constantly looking at ways of improving the lives of its communities through its own actions and those taken in conjunction with other players.

Dublin City Council and the City Development Board are key players in this area. The Social Inclusion Measures group of the City Development Board have set up Social inclusion Task Forces in, each of the five administrative areas of Dublin City. In the North Central Area the key target group identified as a key priority target is the Travelling Community. The RAPID AIT therefore is also prioritising this group and pending the development of the plans under the Strategic themes a number of short-term actions have taken place to engage with and encourage participation by the Travelling Community.

These have included environment projects, which culminated in the first ever entry in the City Neighbourhoods competition Cara Park, a traveller-housing scheme. Sports programmes and some estate enhancement type work have also been carried. In 2009 it is hoped to fund improvements to the Community infrastructure and develop and maintain programmes for children. However much work remains to be done.

Within the North Central Area, Dublin City Council has set up a working group to progress Social Inclusion measures and this is covered elsewhere in this issue.

Other benefits?

A key benefit of the RAPID programme has been the involvement of the local community who responded in large numbers through the initial consultation programme and through the community delegates on the AIT. The community has been empowered through their delegates the programme has created a forum where both community leaders and statuary providers can meet and work together for the community and devise realistic and sustainable solutions to the problems in the area. This sense of being ‘listened to’ is very important to the community. At programme level the availability of Minister Éamon Ó Cuív at quarterly meetings provides another way of imputing the key concerns and issues of the community.

Recent developments.

2009 sees the continuation of the work involved in implementing the Strategic Plans in the themes launched in 2008. Plans will also be developed for the final themes and Youth and Employment and Training. In spite of the difficult financial situation priority will be given at local and national level to implementing these plans. Dublin Northside RAPID and the local community and their partners on the AIT will continue quietly working on targeting capital investment and developing integrated responses to emerging issues. Only through partnership, resolve and continued hard work can progress continue to be made. Then again nobody said it was going to be easy. [see here for latest news]


For more information

Jim Lee (RAPID co-ordinator for the Northside area) would like to thank the various members of the AIT for their huge input into the programme. The members are Marian Vickers (Northside Partnership and Chairperson), Cllr. Paddy Bourke (Public Rep.), Margaret Campbell  (Health Services Executive), Mary Doheny (Community), Celene Dunne, (CDYSB), John Egan (City Council), Dónal Keating (Social & Family Affairs), Al Stein (FAS), Carmel McPartlin (Community), Liam O’Brien (Community), Zara Rogers (VEC), Inspector Dónal Waters (Gardaí) and Tom O’Brien (Drugs Task Force).