Social Inclusion

The Social Inclusion Measures (SIMS) Group is the group that oversees the co-ordination of social inclusion activities within County Leitrim. The SIMS Group (like the Economic Development Group) is a sub-committee of the County Development Board. There is a SIMS Group in each county/city area. The SIMS membership includes the following: Leitrim County Council, Leitrim Development Company, Health Services Executive (HSE), Dept. of Social Protection, Leitrim Sports Partnership, Leitrim County Childcare Committee, Leitrim VEC, Leitrim Community Soccer Programme, An Garda Siochana and the Community Forum. The Group have been involved in several interagency projects including:

  • Goal to Work Programme
  • Community Plans
  • An Saol Maith?
  • Interagency Sports Events
  • Poverty Profiling

"Leitrim .. A County in Change, Profiling Poverty and Social Exclusion in Leitrim"

The SIMS Group oversaw the preparation of "Leitrim .. A County in Change, Profiling Poverty and Social Exclusion in Leitrim" which was completed in 2008. This Report contains baseline information on an extensive range of social inclusion indicators in Leitrim. The report is a valuable resource for community groups, schools and agencies. The Report can be dowloaded below by chapter or is available for reference in the main library branches in the County. There is also a summary report, which contains details of the Focus Groups and the Action Plan agree by Service Providers. This report is available from the Community and Enterprise Offices at 071 9650496.

Download "Leitrim .. A County in Change" Report below:

Table of Contents
Executive Summary
Section 1: Introduction to Leitrim.. A County in Change
Section 2: Demographic Profile
Section 3: Principal Economic Status, Economic Dependency
Section 4: Households, Families and Accommodation
Section 5: Education
Section 6: Health
Section 7A Vulnerable Groups
Section 7B Vulnerable Groups
Section 8: Resources and Amenities

Social Inclusion in the County Development Board Strategy
Social Inclusion has a variety of different meanings to different people. Social inclusion is really about including all people so that they can participate fully in all aspects of life. Without us being aware, some people can be excluded from aspects of life at work, in our communities etc. People can be excluded because of their income level, their family background, their lack of access to decision making and for a variety of other reasons.

The County Development Board's 10 year Strategy focused largely on social inclusion and how to improve the situation of groups most vulnearable to being excluded. Examples of groups highlighted in Leitrim were: older people, Travellers, people with disabilities, marginalised men and women. The 10 year Strategy also looked at some of the main factors which can impact on the quality of life of a person such as health, housing etc. A Social Inclusion Measures group(SIMS) is one of the working groups of the County Development Board. This group includes agencies whose work directly impacts on social inclusion in Leitrim. The SIMS Group meet approximately four times a year and work jointly on projects which can improve the way services are delivered so as to avoid social exclusion. The membership of the Social Inclusion Measures Group is:

Joseph Gilhooly - Director of Community & Enterprise Development, LCC (Chairperson)

Aedamar Keenan - County Childcare Committee

Darragh Severs  - Dept. of Education and Science

Geraldine Mullarkey - HSE

Lourda McGowan - Leitrim Community Forum     

Marie Gallagher - FÁS                                                                                       

Mary Phair - Dept. of Social and family Affairs

Mary Quinn - Director of Housing & Corporate Affairs, LCC

Padraig Rooney - Leitrim Community forum

Sergeant Seamus Boyle  - An Garda Siochana

Tom Lavin - Leitrim Development Company

Trevor Sweetman – VEC

Social Inclusion Projects in the CDB Action Plan 2009 - 2012

1.       Increase the number of people from Leitrim aware of and availing of Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Centre services

2.       Promote Positive Mental Health through Sport

3.       Promote cultural diversity awareness and acceptance

4.       Complete actions in Local Poverty Profile

Social Inclusion Training

On-going training on areas relating to social inclusion is organised within Leitrim County Council by the Community and Enterprise Department. Examples of training which has been provided includes: training on developing a Social Inclusion Strategy within Leitrim County Council; training on how to consult with different groups, training on understanding the specific needs of older people as clients and anti-ageism training. Training on using more simple english in Leitrim County Council information, letters etc was also provided. This training was provided jointly to staff of Leitrim County Council and the local development agencies.

Social Inclusion Awareness
In 2004, Leitrim County Development Board and Leitrim County Council published a Social Inclusion Calendar. The calendar was aimed at people working in Leitrim County Council or agencies of the County Development Board. The Calendar was about how a person can improve social inclusion in Leitrim through their day to day work. The calendar gave practical examples of what social inclusion means in simple english. It also suggested ways in which people could help create awareness of social inclusion. The bottom part of the calendar gave contact details and a summary of the services for Social Inclusion related services in the county.

in 2005, the Calendar focused on how to communicate better so as to include more people. This calendar focused on ways in which simpler words or sentences can help more people to understand information from agencies such as the local authority.

In 2006, the calendar focused on how agencies or community groups can consult. The calendar gave examples of different ways to consult. It also showed why it is important to consult and why it is important to provide feedback.

The 2009 Calendar focused on promoting positive mental health through highlighting the various social, cultural and sporting events available in the county.

National Adult Literacy Guidelines for Plain English
The National Adult Literacy Association (NALA) provide guidelines on how to write in simple english. Training was provided to some staff of Leitrim County Council and the local Development Agencies on these guidlines. Some basic guidelines are provided below and further information can be got at

Writing & Design Tips for Plain English

Plain English involves using clear and concise language. To write in plain English you must put yourself in your reader’s shoes.Plain English makes good customer and business sense – your customers understand you better!

Plain English:

- avoids misunderstandings

- helps people find information quicker

- saves time as people understand the information the first time!

Tips for Using Plain English

Use Everyday words

- Why use long words when short ones will do?

- Use everyday words

- If you are using specialised language – give definitions

- When using abbreviations, define the meaning the first time you use it or print a list of abbreviations

- Be consistent with any terms you use e.g. if you use “review” – use it throughout the document rather than using evaluation at a different page

- Long sentences can be hard work for people with literacy difficulties

NALA Document Design Tips
1. Use good quality paper - the best quality paper to use is one that is coated. Coated paper takes ink very well and so improves legibility. Coated paper can have either a glossy, silk or matt finish.

2. White is the best paper to use for legibility. However, a lighted colour paper  or a solid printed background can work well to make a document more colourful while retaining good legibility.

3. Watch out for shadowing - make sure the paper used is heavy enough to avoid "shadowing", which happens when pictures or text on one side of a page can be seen through the paper.Heavier or thicker paper will prevent this.

4. Choose a readable typeface. A serif typeface makes large bodies of text easier to read as it leads your eye from letter to letter. Times Roman is an example of a serif typeface.

5. Use a minimum of 12 point font. Also, mixing upper and lower case is easier to read than upper case only.

6.Watch your leading. Leading or linespacing refers to the amount of white space between each line of text. Too little space and the reader will miss lines. Too much space and the reader will be unsure as to whether the lines refer to each other or not. NALA recommends that with 12pt font to use a minimum of 2pt of space between each line.

7. Watch background images. If using a logo in the background make sure the logo is faint enough that the text over it is easily read.

8. Be generous with your margins.

9. Graphs can help to make text more easily understood. Graphs should be placed near relevant text. However some people may not be familar with pie charts and graphs so graphs may not work in all documents.

Community & Enterprise Contact:

  • Ireland Structural and Investment Funds
  • EU European Regional Development Fund