A SHOCKING lack of faith in the welfare system among London’s Irish community is revealed in a landmark study 'Fresh Perspectives' which launches today.
The largest ever survey of its kind shows nearly nine out of ten (87.7 per cent) report poor or moderate levels of perceived social support.
Launched in Westminster, it calls for greater awareness among frontline social workers in helping Irish migrants.
“The data showed that recent Irish migrants, older Irish people and Irish carers lack appropriate social support, feel that mainstream services do not meet their needs and have a preference for culturally sensitive services,” says co-author Jeff Moore, Director of care at London Irish Centre. “The study demonstrated the on-going health needs of the established community, and showed that although the physical health of recent migrants was good, many self-reported anxiety and depression."
Developed in partnership by the London Irish Centre and the Federation of Irish Societies the study is the first large scale examination of the needs of the Irish community in London.
It examined the needs of 855 vulnerable Irish people in London, such as recent migrants, older people, second generation Irish people, and carers.
The study demonstrates the continuing disadvantage of the older Irish community, as well as providing new data highlighting the vulnerability of recent migrants, as well as social and health disadvantages of Irish carers.
Although most respondent’s feel they are fairly treated in London, the majority report poor or moderate levels of social support.
The study also provides data on the impact of culturally sensitive services for Irish people and respondents perceptions of mainstream services.
The research indicates:
· That isolation in the London Irish community is a contributory factor to poor health outcomes
· Recent migrants experience a cultural shock over competition for housing and employment, with 11.2 per cent reporting either anxiety or depression
· The data on recent migrants indicates a causal link between poorly planned migration and poor mental health
Although Irish migrants lack information on culturally sensitive services, those who use these services are more aware of their rights and entitlements and feel more fairly treated, the survey shows.
Respondents found that mainstream organisations in London lack awareness of their rights, while older Irish people and carers rely heavily on culturally sensitive services, rating the expertise and responsiveness of these services highly.
The research calls for an awareness raising campaign to reduce the number of Irish people moving to London without undertaking appropriate planning and to increase engagement with culturally sensitive services upon arrival.
The report also called on policy makers, funders and service providers to recognise the importance and potential long-term impact of culturally sensitive services for vulnerable Irish people.
Dr Mary Tilki, Chair of Federation of Irish Societieswho co-authored the report said “The data should be used to ensure local and regional planning for social services includes detailed information on the needs of the Irish community. Those involved in migration policy and commissioning must use the results to plan effectively for the needs of this community. As well as this mainstream organisations must improve front-line workers’ awareness of the rights of recently arrived Irish people under the common travel area agreement.”
Welcoming publication of the report, Chris Ruane MP, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Irish in Britain said:
“The findings of this report must give food for thought for all MPs and elected representatives in London. It reinforces representations made by community groups and care workers that the Irish in Britain, particularly the elderly, are at risk of neglect at a time of austerity. They are in need of community sensitive services. The British Irish Parliamentary Assembly has previously expressed the view of politicians from throughout these islands, that the Irish in Britain should not become an easy target for cuts. It is a view with I which I whole-heartedly concur.”
For more information please contact:
Jeff Moore, Director of Welfare, London Irish Centre
Mobile: 07950 422469
Jennie Mc Shannon, CEO Federation of Irish Societies
Mobile: 07723 822015
· Fresh Perspectives will be launched at Committee Room C, 1 Parliament St. SW1A 2GB London at 4-5.30pm
4.05-.415 Chris Ruane MP and Chair or APPG on the Irish In Britain
4.15-4.20 Sean Kennedy Chair, London Irish Centre, Background to LIC leading on research
4.20-4.40 Jeff Moore, Director of Care, London Irish Centre
4.40 – 4.55 Dr Mary Tilki, Chair Federation of Irish Societies
· Fresh Perspectives: A Needs Analysis of the Irish Community in London is a multi-agency initiative led by the London Irish Centre and the Federation of Irish Societies with the support of the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Camden Council.
· The study used a quota sample methodology to examine the needs and aspirations of sub-groups of Irish migrants in London.
· London Irish Centre provides welfare, social and cultural support to the Irish community in London. www.londonirishcentre.org
· The Federation of Irish Societies (FIS) is the representative body for the Irish voluntary and community sectors in Britain. For more information about FIS please visit our website www.irishinbritain.org
Jeff Moore is Director of Welfare at the London Irish Centre
Eugene Waters is a Research Associate at NorDubCo and Coordinator of Wicklow County Childcare Coordinator
Mary Tilki is Chair of the Federation of Irish Societies and until recently was Principal Lecturer in the School of Health and Social Sciences at Middlesex University.
Lisa Clarke is a part-time lecturer at Middlesex University.