7.1.3 | Diverse and Inclusive Region For the Region to achieve its growthpotential, retaining the existing population base and attracting new population is necessary. The quality of services and amenities for a diverse and multi-cultural society will be a key determinant to achieve this growth ambition. Experience has shown that diverse cities and communities are also successful. Demographic change has helped make Irish cities and towns more diverse and vibrant, with immigration from many different countries contributing to cultural, economic and social diversity. The RSES recognises the positive contribution of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers and supports the Government’s Migrant Integration Strategy. The Region’s trend towards an ageing population will require future planning to ensure positive social integration and to safeguard the vibrant contribution of all age cohorts within our economy and communities. The changing character of household formation (trend to smaller household unit sizes) needs to be met with appropriate housing types and associated social and community services. Quality place-making embodying inclusive and universal access design principles for our building stock, public realm, amenities and transport services are key for citizens, while adding to the ease and quality of visitor’s experience to the Region. The RSES supports the National Disability Strategy and implementation of its guiding principles on equality, maximising participation and enabling independence and choice. Programmes addressing social deprivation, such as the Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP), are required for the most vulnerable and will continue to play a critical role. The role of people involved in volunteering and active citizenship in community building, education and support for individuals and families is a significant and valuable contribution to community cohesion and the common good. This should be supported and enabled by local authorities through for example the provision of community and meeting facilities or equipment. Social Enterprise The RSES recognises and supports the diverse range of social enterprises within the Region and their contribution to the regional economy. Key supports required for social enterprise are to (a) identify the supports required for the retention of existing social enterprises, and (b) implement the structures required to support the development of new social enterprises.
Diverse and Socially Inclusive Society It is an objective to plan for a more diverse and socially inclusive society which: a. Recognises the positive contribution of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers to multicultural communities and the economic life of an area and supports government policy The Migrant Integration Strategy ; b. Prioritises parity of opportunity and improved well-being and quality of life for all citizens of the Region including, for example, the LBGTI+ community, travellers and minority groups through enhanced integration programmes, measures to support sustainable accessible communities and the provision of associated services.
Volunteering and Active Citizenship
It is an objective to support the empowerment of individuals and groups in communities through volunteering and active citizenship, recognising the collective contribution of time and effort to the common good. Local authorities and other public bodies and agencies should support active citizen engagement, such as participation in a resident’s association or lobby group, or volunteering to help out in a local sports club, caring for a family member or neighbour or simply being active and caring about the local neighbourhood, the environment as well as larger global and national issues.
Equal Access It is an objective to promote disability awareness and improve equal access for all through universal design for public transport access, housing, social, cultural and recreational facilities and the public realm to improve quality of life equally for abled and disabled citizens in our Region. Local authorities should ensure that decision-making in relation to investment in infrastructure and facilities is informed by engagement with representatives of disability support organisations to ensure that perspectives of those they represent (e.g. wheelchair users) are understood and an appropriate level of environmental assessment.
Southern Regional Assembly | RSES
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