A €20,000 fund has been awarded to the Spraoi agus Spórt social enterprise to address educational disadvantage in Inishowen.
New community education and supports will be provided to people in Inishowen who faced barriers to learning due to a lack of technology, lack of high-speed broadband or IT illiteracy.
The funding was allocated by Donegal Education & Training Board through SOLAS as part of the Irish government’s Mitigating Against Educational Disadvantage Fund (MAEDF).
Kathleen McDaid, Community Builder at Spraoi agus Spórt said: “We’re delighted to have been awarded this funding which will significantly help to reduce barriers to participation in Further Education & Training for people in Inishowen by facilitating wider access to digital technologies, equipment and materials.
“In particular, we will be targeting early school leavers, one parent families, stay at home parents, people with disabilities, travellers, asylum seekers, migrant workers, refugees, ex-offenders, substance misusers, and those who are unemployed or have been out of the labour market for some time.
“This funding will help us to develop and deliver community education and supports through our Digital Creative Studio and Study Hub at Spraoi agus Spórt so that we can engage with our most vulnerable learners and communities to ensure a higher level of access to education, training, and upskilling.
“Using the resources of our Digital Creative Studio and the skills of our Technical Lead and pool of experienced facilitators we’ll be creating and delivering a range of community education training courses in the Studio so that we can reach out, encourage, and support learners of all ages and abilities to re-engage with further education and training – including in digital & creative technologies.”
Paul McCay, Technical Lead in the Digital Creative Studio at Spraoi agus Spórt added: “I’d also like to welcome this much-needed funding which will help to break down so many barriers to learning for people in Inishowen – including those who don’t have a laptop or the connectivity to study online.
“We will be encouraging new learners to engage with further education and training through our digital and creative training courses in the Studio. We can bring any idea to life here with our fantastic FabLab facility and by using our wide range of high-end equipment. This funding will provide ipads and laptops to support all our participants in the delivery of various courses – including in digital photography, vlogging and podcasting.
“We will also be working with individuals and groups to identify future service provision and the courses they would like to see delivered here in the Studio.
“I have no doubts that this funding will lessen the educational inequality experienced by people here in Inishowen whose learning journey has been put on hold due to a lack of technology, high-speed broadband, inadequate facilities, lack of financial resources or some degree of IT illiteracy.”
Spraoi agus Spórt has several rooms available as Study Hubs, a large training room and a Community Builder staff member on site from 8.30am-6pm, Monday-Friday to support adult learners who wish to avail of their resources.
For further information please contact Kathleen McDaid on 085 860 1834 or Paul McCay, Technical Lead at the Digital Creative Studio on 074 937 3303.
The Mitigating Against Educational Disadvantage Fund aims to address educational disadvantage experienced by vulnerable people and groups in Irish society. It has a particular focus on supporting the engagement and re-engagement of learners in the community through Further Education & Training (FET) – in particular those disadvantaged through poverty, disability, learning difficulties, rural isolation, cultural and language barriers, unemployment and those with limited or no access to technology.