The Breaking Down Barriers group in County Louth reaches nearly 200 responses on their survey!

The course titled Breaking Down Barriers: Community Integration for All, focuses on improving integration within County Louth. The group have received a fantastic response to their survey, from both migrants and white-irish citizens within the community. The team collected nearly 200 responses, giving them a diverse data set, providing them with clarity and a deeper understanding of the challenge. 

A large body of this course are members of Hands4Unity, a local community group based in Drogheda, Louth. Hands4Unity* is a membership association created to celebrate, educate and empower women. They have been working in partnership with Louth LEADER Partnership and ourselves at Innovating Communities. The aim of their survey was to understand the lived experience of integration of the migrant community, and first-generation, into Irish society. As a challenging topic, the group feel that they have successfully achieved their goal of becoming closer to understanding the lived experience from the perspective of migrants, their children and the Irish community. With these responses, and through their research, the group has identified the term “Integration” as: 'The process by which migrants become accepted into society, both as individuals and as groups….[Integration] refers to a two-way process of adaptation by migrants and host societies…[and implies] consideration of the rights and obligations of migrants and host societies, of access to different kinds of services and the labour market, and of identification and respect for a core set of values that bind migrants and host communities in a common purpose.' (IOM, 2011)

We spent a few sessions looking through the data together, luckily the team had the help of a data scientist on board, and we organised and clustered the responses so that we could understand the data, and the insights it provided. The team discussed emerging themes and the actionable insights from this data. Additionally, using our Jamboards tool (an interactive, digital whiteboard) the team explored the written responses from the survey, using an affinity mapping exercise to pull themes together.

On their course journey, the group practiced multiple Design thinking methods and have worked particularly hard to create a survey that captures the honest lived experience of integration in their community. The survey was carefully considered and edited to make sure it didn’t lead the participants in any way. The aim of the survey engagement was to leave the participants feeling empowered, particularly due to the complexities on such a personal subject. The group wanted to find positive actions that could be made in order to approach a challenging topic in a way that was approachable and open-hearted. 
One of the ways that brought people together was through sharing food from different cultures. The team have considered using food as a way to start conversations and bridge the gaps between groups within the community. 

The survey has successfully provided them with actionable insights. Their next steps will be working on developing these insights into opportunities, which they plan to share at their in-person event taking place on the 19th of November. By sharing their findings, they hope to further open up the conversation with more people and discuss what opportunities arise for the future.  

*To find out more about the great work being done by Hands4Unity in their community, or to get involved; visit their website:


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