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Home > Meeting the needs of BME communities – organisational connector models.

Dillon, Lucy (2019) Meeting the needs of BME communities – organisational connector models. Drugnet Ireland , Issue 71, Autumn 2019 , pp. 14-15.

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In 2017, CityWide Drugs Crisis Campaign produced the report, Stimulating and supporting a black and minority ethnic voice on drug issues.1 The research aimed ‘to explore possible structures and processes through which to engage with, hear the voice of, and empower Black and minority ethnic [BME] communities in relation to issues of drug use’ (p. 5). The report concluded that problematic drug use was an issue facing BME communities in Ireland, that there were challenges in addressing it, and that the needs of these communities were not being met by policymakers or service providers. A summary of the key findings of this report was provided in a 2018 issue of Drugnet Ireland.2 As a follow-up to this report, in 2019, CityWide published Taking steps to engage with black and minority ethnic communities and their organisations on issues related to problematic drug use.3 As with the previous report, the current one is written by Niall Crowley, an independent public policy researcher with expertise in human rights and equality.

Taking steps outlines the measures that can be taken by policymakers, service providers, Drug and Alcohol Task Forces (DATFs), and BME community organisations to better address the needs of BME communities in relation to problematic drug use. It describes two organisational connector models. In terms of definition, organisational connectors are described as ‘local organisations that have a strong relationship with and include members of Black and minority ethnic communities in their day-to-day work. They include schools, youth organisations, churches and minority ethnic businesses’ (p. 10). Organisational connectors enable service providers to more effectively engage and communicate with BME communities. Two models of working with organisational connectors based on the experiences of two DATFs and other service providers form the main body of the report.

 

Engaging and networking with schools and youth organisations

The DATF in Dublin’s north inner city engaged and networked schools and youth organisations as organisational connectors in making links with BME communities. The aim of their collaboration was to ensure that young BME people were supported, in integrated settings, to access information in relation to problematic drug use; explore and develop their thinking in relation to drug use; and build a network of supportive contacts.

  • Key steps for the DATF included: Liaising with home school liaison officers and school principals; getting relevant youth organisations involved in its structures and work processes; and developing accessible materials on available supports that took account of the diversity of young people in their area.
  • Key steps for the schools included: Facilitating and supporting the work of the DATF and local youth organisations, particularly supporting the participation of young people from BME communities to these activities.
  • Key steps for the youth organisations included: Creating the conditions for integrated activities and building a culture of equality and celebrating diversity. 

Engaging local development companies

The Cork Local Drug and Alcohol Task Force engaged with Cork City Partnership (CCP) to make links with BME communities in their area. CCP is a local development company and implements the Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP), which aims to strengthen community development, provide education and training, and support employment. The aim of their collaboration included more involvement of BME communities in the workings of the local DATF and expanding the resources available to respond to and prevent problematic drug and alcohol use within these communities. As well as providing opportunities to interact with BME communities, as a local development company with a remit to address social exclusion and inequality, CCP can provide opportunities to access education, training, and employment programmes.

 

Conclusion

The report concludes with an extract from CityWide’s submission to the Health Service Executive’s consultation for the Second National Intercultural Health Strategy 2018–2023, which was launched in January 2019.4 It has an action to implement the relevant elements of the national drugs strategy, Reducing harm, supporting recovery: a health-led response to drug and alcohol use in Ireland 2017–2025.5

 

 

1 Crowley N (2017) Stimulating and supporting a black and minority ethnic voice on drugs issues. Dublin: CityWide Drugs Crisis Campaign. https://www.drugsandalcohol.ie/27501/

2  Dillon L (2018) Problematic drug use and the needs of new communities and BME groups. Drugnet Ireland, 64 (Winter): 26–27. https://www.drugsandalcohol.ie/28577/

3  Crowley N (2018) Taking steps to engage with black and minority ethnic communities and their organisations on issues related to problematic drug use. Dublin: CityWide Drugs Crisis Campaign. https://www.drugsandalcohol.ie/30443/

4  Health Service Executive (2018) Second National Intercultural Health Strategy 2018–2023. Dublin: Health Service Executive. https://www.drugsandalcohol.ie/30767/  

5 Department of Health (2017) Reducing harm, supporting recovery: a health-led response to drug and alcohol use in Ireland 2017-2025. Dublin: Department of Health. https://www.drugsandalcohol.ie/27603/

Item Type
Article
Publication Type
Irish-related
Drug Type
Substances (not alcohol/tobacco)
Intervention Type
Harm reduction
Issue Title
Issue 71, Autumn 2019
Date
December 2019
Page Range
pp. 14-15
Publisher
Health Research Board
Volume
Issue 71, Autumn 2019
EndNote

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