Community education projects across Clare and Limerick have received funding under the Educational Harm Reduction Fund.
The projects will be financed by a global fund of 6.5 million euros announced by the Minister of Higher and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD. The fund is administered by SOLAS, the Further Education and Training Authority and the 16 local education and training councils.
The objective of the fund is to support community education for adult learners, who have the highest level of need, with a strong emphasis on building the digital infrastructure of community education providers in order to increase the capacity to deliver e-learning.
The recipient of Clare funding is Obair, Newmarket-on-Fergus – Food4u Application Development.
Projects vary from programs to help support e-learning, connect communities and provide social support to vulnerable people.
Paul Patton, director of further education and training for the Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board, which provides, supports and coordinates community education in Limerick and Clare, also commented on the Fund: “It’s great to see as many diverse people and local community education providers receive funds to continue their vital work.
Many of our community education providers take an innovative approach to ensure that no one is left behind now that so much of our daily life takes place online, whether it’s learning, socializing or working. We look forward to continuing to support the strong tradition of community education throughout Limerick & Clare as we move forward into 2022 and hopefully into more positive times in the future. All funding received now supports learners as they engage in delivering community education in their locality, at a pace and time that is convenient for them.
Commenting on the announcement of the recipients, Andrew Brownlee, CEO of SOLAS, said: “We are delighted to have funded a range of Limerick and Clare community education services under the new Educational Disadvantage Mitigation Fund. Covid-19 has had a huge impact on the way education is delivered, with much of our learning now taking place online.
“Those in society who are furthest away from education due to social disadvantage have been most affected by the move online, either by a lack of digital literacy or by a lack of hardware and software. . Through the Fund, we are helping community education providers continue to provide their much-needed services and ensure that all sectors of society remain connected and supported to continue their learning journeys.
For more information on community education in Limerick and Clare, visit https://learningandskills.ie/community/, and to learn more about the Educational Disadvantage Mitigation Fund, visit www.solas.ie.