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The Aisling Community Resettlement Centre

 

Aisling’s dream of opening our own house for returning emigrants is well on the way towards fruition. The benefit night at the Luminaire in Kilburn recently helped raise a lot of the funds we need to begin serious work on the Aisling Community Resettlement Centre.

We have for the last few years been working towards this goal and have drawn up detailed plans of how to achieve it. The main strategy is therefore to raise the necessary money to obtain a building and to fund the support services that returning migrants will need.

Cement MixerThe Irish government has been more generous over recent years through the Dion fund for emigrant services and are offering places in sheltered housing schemes to emigrants who wish to go home through the Molloy Initiative. This has happened thanks to the Safe-Home programme in Co. Mayo which is the agency charged with organising all referrals to Irish sheltered housing from aboard. Those who qualify for sheltered housing are over 55 with some support needs. Most of our clients fit these criteria but few would be able to make the transition without a lot of help and support in the initial stages.

Aisling supported holidays are a good indicator of the needs of emigrants making the transition into Irish society and we have seen time and again that, while our clients would like to go back to their homeland to live, the environment on an Aisling trip is a necessary first step on this road.

The next step ideally would be to the resettlement centre where returning emigrant can settle into a more permanent home with experienced and dedicated staff who would understand the difficulties faced by emigrants integrating into modern Ireland.

The next step would then be a move to more independent living when confidence has been raised and the clients have settled into life in Ireland. One option would be through the sheltered scheme operated by the Safe-Home project and another would be through other housing agencies. We would also negotiate a safety net whereby clients could return to their homes in London if the move was found to be unsuccessful after a certain period.

We expect the Irish government to make funding available for some of the staff and running costs and providing a building, but Aisling will need to prove that we can finance a great part of the enterprise ourselves, at least in the first few years.

Thanks to our generous supporters over the years we are establishing Aisling Ireland which will move the Aisling Community Resettlement Centre forward and build our base in Ireland.

Alex McDonnell

 

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