The Engage & Educate Fund is a €1.2 million three-year fund created by Rethink Ireland in partnership with Mason Hayes and Curran LLP and the Department of Rural and Community Development via the Dormant Accounts Fund. The objective of the Fund is to back innovative projects that empower young people and adults through education, enabling people from marginalised communities to access game-changing education programmes.
The COVID-19 pandemic has widened the gap in educational opportunities between different socio-economic classes and is deepening the negative impact on young people and adults who have left the education system early or are at risk of doing so.
On Monday, 10th January 2022, Rethink Ireland announced the Awardees of its Engage & Educate Fund. The Engage & Educate Fund aims to work with organisations that empower young people and adults through education and break the negative cycle of poverty through education.
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 Care After Prison (CAP) Post Release Community Reintegration project provides pathways and support 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.
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 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.
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 will expose students to new interests, strengthening their ability to function in a team and allow talented individuals to express themselves.