€120k REACH funding for Tipp ETB to support educationally disadvantaged learners

June 21, 2024

SOLAS, the state agency responsible for Further Education and Training (FET), has announced €120,000 in funding to Tipperary ETB, to support marginalised learners to access community education programmes in local communities, through €5 million in national Reach Funding.

The €120,000 funding allocation for 2024 will support almost 800 learners across the Tipperary area to access and participate in local community education provision including measures under the learner assistant fund, innovative green projects, participation of priority cohorts and Adult Literacy for Life (ALL Strategy) targets, as well as support to refugee and other learner groups.

The funding allocated to disadvantaged learners across the Tipperary region will be used to support 23 projects from as far north as Ballymackey Women’s Shed and St Cronan’s Association in Roscrea, to Acquired Brain Injury Clonmel and Aherlow/Kilross Community Council in the south. This funding will greatly enhance and support participation in unique learning opportunities, and provides support to a wide range of community education groups.

Speaking on the allocation of Reach Funding across Ireland Minister Patrick O’Donovan (TD said: “The impact of Reach Funding over the past four years is evident. Originally introduced in 2020 to support the most disadvantaged learners throughout the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, it now provides important funds to assist Tipperary ETB, and community education providers to increase their capacity and ensure that they can support the participation of disadvantaged learners within their communities.”

Deborah Ryan, Community Education Facilitator for Active Inclusion at Tipperary ETB, said:

“We are delighted to support access to Reach for community education providers in Tipperary. We have a significant community education sector in our region, and this sector is doing sterling work locally to enhance access to further education and training.

“All community education groups accessing Reach aim to engage learners through a range of measures such as providing digital hardware, innovative learning events and initiatives, as well as bespoke outreach, access and provision of learner supports. ”

Since 2020, thousands of initiatives have received Reach Funding (formerly known as the Mitigating Against Educational Disadvantage Fund) which has helped to empower learners; build digital infrastructures to foster inclusion and support learning in the Tipperary region and across Ireland. It has helped to develop safe learning spaces, address the digital divide, build stronger learning communities, and increase the capacity of community education organisations across local communities.

Andrew Brownlee, CEO of SOLAS, the Further Education and Training Authority, said: “Community education plays a critical and unique role in the FET system, and in local communities in Tipperary, and across Ireland. It offers local, accessible, and welcoming learning opportunities for individuals which can support them to achieve their personal, social, and educational goals. We are delighted to continue to offer Reach funding in 2024 and we have seen first-hand the difference that it is making through Tipperary ETB and across the country to support those who need it the most.

Since 2020, over 2,300 individual projects have been supported through Reach funding and demand is growing year on year. This is testament to the incredible work that is happening at local level by ETBs and community partners as they work to tackle barriers that prevent learners from accessing education and support them to re-engage and participate with local provision.”

The full list of Tipperary REACH Fund grantees for 2024 is:

• Acquired Brain Injury Clonmel
• Aherlow/Kilross Community Council
• Ballylynch Women’s Club (STDC)
• Ballymackey Women’s Shed
• Capparoe Women’s Shed
• Clonmel Applefest
• Cuan Croi Mental Health Daycare Clonmel
• Digi Academy
• Down Syndrome Tipperary
• Killaloe / Ballina Family Resource Centre
• Knockanrawley Workability Project (KFRC) Tipperary
• Rehab – Knocklofty Resource Centre, Clonmel
• Moycarkey, Borris, Littleton Men’s Shed
• North Tipperary Development Company (Men’s Shed & Refugee Support)
• Silver Arch Family Resource Centre Nenagh
• Silvermines Community Centre
• Silvermines Men’s Shed
• St Cronan’s Association Roscrea
• Substance Misuse Service Clonmel
• Avista, St Annes, Roscrea
• Rechab – The Mill, Clonmel
• Rehab – Suirdrop, Clonmel

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