Our three year €1.2m Fund supports game changing educational opportunities for marginalised communities.
The 2021-2024 Fund, supported by Mason Hayes & Curran LLP, will see the largest ever amounts awarded since the project began, with five organisations receiving grants and non-financial supports packages. The Fund was established in 2017 to provide support for projects that empower people through education to achieve their full potential and to contribute to their communities.
Among the successful projects selected this year, are organisations that provide education opportunities to people experiencing marginalisation, young people from the Traveller community, young people with disabilities, and people with migrant status. The fund is supported by Mason Hayes & Curran LLP, Rethink Ireland, and the Department of Rural and Community Development via the Dormant Accounts Fund.
The Engage & Educate Fund Awardees are:
The COVID-19 pandemic has widened the gap in educational opportunities between different socio-economic groups over the past two years. As a result, the negative impact on young people and adults who left the education system early, or are now at risk of doing so, is growing. The objective of the Fund is to back innovative projects that empower young people and adults through education. The Engage & Educate Fund aims to work with organisations that empower young people and adults, helping to break the negative cycle of poverty through education.
Announcing the 2021-2024 Engage & Educate Fund Awardees today, Minister of State with special responsibility for Community Development and Charities Joe O’Brien TD said, “I’m delighted to announce the recipients of funding from the Engage & Educate Fund and very pleased to see the diversity of the winning projects, working with children experiencing disadvantage, migrants, members of the Traveller Community and others in our communities."
He continued “These organisations play such an important role both in supporting people in mainstream education and in providing access to educational opportunities for those who haven’t been afforded the same opportunities as others. I want to thank Mason Hayes & Curran and Rethink Ireland for this support and the process of engagement with communities that has led to these awards being made.”
Declan Black, Managing Partner, Mason Hayes & Curran LLP said: “We absolutely believe that education can and does open a world of opportunity for people. This is our biggest fund yet and we’re delighted to be part of a project that will provide access to education to help people realise their potential. The ability of each of these organisations to provide educational services to those who have had difficulty in accessing education, or are otherwise disadvantaged, was an important consideration in selecting this year’s awardees. We look forward to seeing the outcomes that will be achieved with this funding.”
About the Awardees
Youth Horizons, situated in West Tallaght, which is one of the most disadvantaged areas in Ireland, has been responding to the expressed needs of the community since 1988. At present, early school leaving is a defining social issue in the local community. Youth Horizons works with young people who have struggled in mainstream education, offering them a second chance to complete the Leaving Certificate. Youth Horizons provides a space for young people to achieve academically by removing any barrier that is put in their way. Activity based, experiential learning exposes students to new interests, strengthening their ability to function in a team and allow talented individuals to express themselves. Youth Horizons aims to expand services to vulnerable young people that require individual tuition to improve attendance and create a structured support system to ensure students can handle the transition to third level and individual learning.
Blossom Ireland provides skills-based training for young people with an intellectual disability (ID) aged 14 and above in preparation for and during the transition from school to the next stage in their lives. The Blossom Personal Empowerment Programme® (PEP®) has been delivered since 2017 to young people in Dublin and has recently been rolled out on a new digital platform, 'My Blossom Channel'. My Blossom Channel is an innovative way of delivering the Blossom PEP® through a blend of online learning activities, video challenges and weekly group meet-ups. It uses engaging graphics, video, and games, making it accessible to non-readers – something unique in e-learning. The young person is supported in their e-learning by a ‘Champion’ from within their own network. The young people attend weekly meet-ups with a qualified Facilitator, who ensures sessions are accessible and engaging, allowing the young people to share learnings with a new group of peers.
Care After Prison
The Care After Prison (CAP) Post Release Community Reintegration project provides support and pathways to education, training, and employment for those with lived experience of incarceration. This project develops individual bespoke plans with the person and guides and supports them each step of the way as they resettle. Part of the service is peer-to-peer support, which is a powerful and inspiring connection with a significant long-lasting impact.
Cultúr Migrant Centre
The Cultúr Migrant Centre is a midlands-based community organisation working with migrants, asylum seekers and refugees, focusing on the provision of equal rights and education opportunities. This migrant-led initiative works to address a host of social issues such as social exclusion, risk of poverty, isolated communities and language barriers. The Cultúr "UpSkilling Project Phase 2" will respond to high levels of demand on the current accredited upskilling training to empower 180 migrants through education and promote employability skills for 3 years. The programme is tailored to respond to labour market demand and targeted to provide training/support to migrants who are marginalised and at risk of falling through the gaps of mainstream supports, while also addressing language barriers. Based on the recent needs identified by migrants and proven by the current projects' evaluation, this programme will re-orientate learners from former employment roles to new employment opportunities: it will support migrants to kickstart their careers and build the resilience required to succeed during and post COVID-19 restrictions. It will deliver vocational bridging courses to develop specific skills, to both an accredited and industry standard, matching gaps in the employment market with a focus on developing and providing a comprehensive life skills employability programme. Furthermore, the project will provide outreach to support the mental health and wellbeing of migrants.
Galway Traveller Movement
The Galway Traveller Movement (GTM) "Educate to Empower" project is a peer-led education programme. The peer-led model helps to promote cultural identity that nurtures young people's health, wellbeing, and creativity, with a key influence on educational outcomes. Taking a coordinated inter-agency approach to address educational disadvantage for Traveller young people in Galway, the programme will identify areas of priority for action and transformational change. This will be done by developing a system to enable Traveller families to engage in afterschool supports through a network of volunteer tutors and technology. The project will develop creative and culturally specific workshops in consultation with Traveller youth, that build self-esteem and belonging. GTM will collect data from the Traveller young people to explore the impact of educational disadvantage on their lives to identify barriers and create the conditions for meaningful participation in education. The project will also work with policymakers locally and nationally, to influence change with the view to ensuring equality outcomes for the Traveller community.