For charities and community groups struggling to engage younger generations, Luton Irish Forum has produced ‘Generation Irish’ – a model of working across the generations for all BME organisations.
The report is the result of a research project which surveyed the opinions of more than 200 Irish people and their descendants from Luton and the surrounding area plus in-depth interviews.
While half of survey respondents feel there is a stigma attached to being second and third generation (i.e. they’re born in Britain from parents or grandparents born in Ireland), a large majority (87%) say Irishness is an important part of their identity. Research found over 30s are more likely to identify as Irish while under 30s are more likely to identify with hybrid identities.
Author Fiona Martin says; “The community as a whole needs to have more understanding and acceptance of hybrid identities. Some of the issues of stigma surrounding second and third generations could be tackled by greater recognition of their achievements and encouraging them with better representation within Irish or other BME organisations.”
Fiona continues: “We hope this guidance will enable Luton Irish Forum and similar community organisations to better address the evolving needs of younger Irish and other emigrants and in particular second and third generations.”
The Generation Irish report can be downloaded at https://indd.adobe.com/view/5604056d-9712-4c13-9d7c-06a1dd5bf49a and a limited number of printed copies are available from Luton Irish Forum.
This research project has been supported and guided by a project steering group, made up of local Irish community members and funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Emigrant Support Programme.