The improvements to living conditions for residents in accommodation provided by the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) of my Department have been significant in recent years. These include the implementation of self- or communal catering arrangements in a number of accommodation centres.
In addition, there have been significant improvements to recreation opportunities. Friends of the Centre groups have also been established in each centre. This initiative aims to bring residents, community and voluntary groups together with a view to increasing integration opportunities and providing for the development of greater community linkages with the residents and the centre.
It is a core requirement under the Department’s public procurement process for accommodation centres that all tenders must include an implementation plan to meet the social, cultural and recreational needs of residents and to foster links with local organisations and community groups to encourage greater integration.
There are a wide range of activities being co-ordinated through Friends of the Centre Groups. These include facilitating access to local sporting clubs, participation in Tidy Towns Committees, participation in community gardens, facilitating An Fóroige Youth Clubs, sewing circles, events celebrating different nationalities and cultures and organised day trips to various locations.
The following table is a break-down of recreational facilities available to children in those accommodation centres which accommodate families: