Dare2Dip, based in Donegal, has been shortlisted for an AONTAS STAR Award in the Social Inclusion category.
The STAR Awards (Showcasing Teamwork, Awarding Recognition) are an awards initiative organised by the national adult learning organisation, AONTAS, to recognise and celebrate the work undertaken by adult learning initiatives throughout Ireland.
The programme delivered by The LightHouse, a Social Enterprise powered by Inishowen Development Partnership provides introductory sea swimming safety guidance to new and novice sea swimmers, while promoting the mental health and wellness benefits of being in the sea.
Funded by Donegal County Council with support from the Irish Coastguard, the programme featured experienced sea swimmers, individuals who hadn’t been in the water for years, and those from established small sea swimming groups from across the Inishowen peninsula, with a total of sixty learners taking part.
Commenting on the shortlist, Dr Niamh O’Reilly, CEO of AONTAS, said: “The STAR Awards are an excellent opportunity to celebrate the positive contribution that adult learning initiatives make to individual adult learners, local communities, and the Irish public. The focus this year is on the wider benefits of learning for development of a collective sense of belonging, equality, wellbeing, and growth. This is really reflected across the shortlist this year, and AONTAS is delighted to have such wonderful initiatives shortlisted for the STAR Awards.”
Judging of the STAR Awards comprises two stages: In the first stage, nominated projects are shortlisted by an independent judging panel, whose membership is drawn from the education, business and technology sectors. The second stage gives staff and learners from the shortlisted projects the opportunity to meet with the judging panel online before they make their final decision.
STAR Award winners will be announced during the week of the AONTAS Adult Learners’ Festival (7th-11th March 2022) and a celebratory event will also take place to acknowledge the incredible achievements of all of the groups involved.
The STAR Awards form a key part of the annual AONTAS Adult Learners’ Festival. Over the past sixteen years, the Festival has become a firm fixture in the Irish adult learning calendar, showcasing the range of learning opportunities available across the country and encouraging adults to try something new. This year’s Festival will feature a programme of events that will include a mix of online and face-to-face events across the country. A key focus of this year’s Festival is highlighting the variety of learning options available to prospective learners and sharing the message that you can #LearnYourWay in your local community.
The STAR Awards is proudly sponsored by the Open University in Ireland and the Open College Network Northern Ireland (OCNNI), the Teachers’ Union of Ireland (TUI), Concern Worldwide, Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI), the European Social Fund (ESF) and Mental Health Ireland. Sponsors will be offering special prizes to all 2022 STAR Award winners.