Glencree 'Hope and Ambition' Project

Glencree’s Hope and Ambition Project aims to highlight the grassroots challenges as well as policy implications of combating exclusion in the Irish context today. This project focuses primarily on our work with asylum seekers in Clondalkin Towers Direct Provision Centre. This Centre is home to over 300 people, including many families who have been impacted by war and conflict throughout the world.

Now in its 6th year, the Glencree Women’s Group at Clondalkin Towers provides a range of psycho-social supports to residents. Monthly Women's Group meetings provide a safe-space for residents to come together, identify their own hopes and ambitions and engage with women from different ethnic and faith backgrounds. Group members can engage in Multicultural Wellness and Trauma Healing practices developed by Capacitar International. Dialogue and creative methodologies are also harnessed to help residents find common interests, listen to different perspectives, receive emotional support, and share information and learnings.

Over the years, while members of the Group continue to change as residents move into and out of the Centre, with its ethos of care and respect and having established trusted relationships, the Women’s Group has been an enduring and welcome support to residents. This longevity has also allow the project to evolve and innovate to meet the changing and expressed needs of the residents. This was particularly evident following their experiences of living through Covid-19 which brought to the fore the need for greater physical and emotional space, to leave the narrow confines of the immediate environment, spend more time in nature and replenish the senses through exercise, play and fresh air.

This focus on wellness and nature-based activities become a key focus of project activities since 2022 and has resulted in monthly outdoor self-care and trauma healing events including Coffee and Tai Chi Morning sessions, quarterly nature and cultural outings including picnics for the women residents and their children. Glencree also expanded the facilitation of the Capacitar Self-Care, Wellness and Trauma Healing sessions to include both monthly online and in-person events. Work is also currently underway to facilitate the women residents in taking greater ownership and active participation in the project and to develop a strand of wellbeing work in other International Protection Accommodation Centres.

The activities of the project are facilitated by Glencree Project Lead Louise Keating and volunteer Maureen O’Riordain. The team works closely with Marie William’s of Young Mother’s Network to connect the women to other supports.


Funded by Mount Street Club Trust, the Hope and Ambition project brings together a range of organisations and their respective work with communities experiencing poverty and marginalisation. Using an innovative model of trust-based philanthropy, participating groups commit to a process of shared learning and deep reflection on the work, beyond predetermined measurable targets or outcomes. This cross-organisational approach harnesses the experiences of practitioners and CEOs within different sectors including intellectual disability, community arts, travelling community, and work with refugees and migrants.

“We did not know that such a beautiful place existed near us.” Somali woman during a picnic in Corkagh Park, Clondalkin.

Member of Glencree Women's Group from Somalia during a picnic in Corkagh Park, Clondalkin.

“Thank you for the opportunity to visit this farm, it is wonderful to be out in nature. It is very interesting to see the way vegetables are cultivated here and share experiences of farming from our own countries.”

Member of Glencree Women's Group from Cameroon during a visit to An Tairseach Organic Farm, Wicklow.

Members of Glencree Women's Group at Clondalkin Towers take part in a series of nature-based outings facilitated by Glencree Project Lead Louise Keating (r) and volunteer Maureen O’Riordain (l) with Marie William’s of Young Mother’s Network (centre).

The Hope and Ambition project is delivered as part of Glencree’s Intercultural and Refugee Programme. This programme aims to make Ireland a more welcoming and inclusive place with respect for all ethnic, faith and cultural backgrounds, by facilitating intercultural dialogues among refugees, migrants, and members of diverse ethnic and faith communities.

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