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12 Aug 2022

Community education providers in Carlow urged to apply for the SOLAS and ETBI Reach Fund 2022

Community education providers in Carlow urged to apply for the SOLAS and ETBI Reach Fund 2022

The Reach Fund was formerly known as the Mitigating Against Educational Disadvantage Fund and carries a new name this year

Community education providers in Carlow are being encouraged to apply for funding for eligible projects under the €5.5 million Reach Fund, which is now open for applications through Kilkenny and Carlow Education and Training Board (ETB).

The Reach Fund was formerly known as the Mitigating Against Educational Disadvantage Fund and carries a new name this year.

The aim of the Reach Fund remains the same as its past two successful outings, which is to support community education for adult learners in counties across Ireland, including Carlow and Kilkenny, who have the highest level of need.

A further focus of the Fund is on building the digital infrastructure of local community education providers in Carlow and Kilkenny to increase their capacity to deliver online learning, with target funding available to improve access to technology and devices.

The Reach Fund was first announced by the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD, in 2020.

It is funded by SOLAS, the further education and training authority, and administered to local community education projects by the 16 local Education and Training Boards (ETBs) around the country, including Kilkenny and Carlow ETB.

Commenting on the 2022 Reach Fund, Minister Simon Harris TD said:

“The success of the Reach Fund over the past two years has been so important. It’s critical, now that we are past the acute phase of the Covid-19 pandemic, that we reconnect with the most disadvantaged learners around the country, including in Carlow and Kilkenny, and ensure that community education partners are empowered to reach them. These learners simply cannot be left behind.

I am very proud of the work in reaching these learners that has been achieved under the banner of the Reach Fund and can’t wait to see what vital projects are funded in 2022’s call.”

Around the country, the projects supported by the Reach Fund helped to support online learning, connect communities and provided social supports to the most vulnerable groups.

These priority groups include people who are long-term unemployed; young people; people with disabilities; members of the Traveller and Roma communities; migrants and refugees; women wishing to return to the labour market; and lone parents.

In 2020, over 500 community education projects were funded by Reach through the 16 ETBs, with overall funding of €5.8 million.

In 2021, overall Reach funding of €6.85 million was allocated to support community education, comprising 1,000 initiatives.

Commenting on the call, Andrew Brownlee, CEO of SOLAS, said:

“Through the Reach Fund, we are supporting those in society who are furthest removed from education through social disadvantage. We are calling on community education partners in Carlow and Kilkenny to apply for funding for their critical work through this year’s Reach Fund.

“These partners and their projects have a huge impact, not only on an individual’s life, but also to our communities, and Irish society overall.”

Fiona Maloney, Director of Further Education and Training with Education and Training Boards Ireland (ETBI), commented:

“ETBI welcomes the continuation of the Reach Fund, which is administered by the national network of Education and Training Boards. The Reach Fund has already had a significant positive impact for many communities.

“I encourage community education providers in Carlow and Kilkenny to engage with Kilkenny and Carlow ETB to access this fund to further support the very valuable work across our communities for all of our citizens.”

Community education providers in Carlow and Kilkenny can apply for Reach funding by completing a funding application form, which is available from Adult Education Officers in Kilkenny and Carlow ETB by phoning 059-9138560 or emailing info@kcetb.ie.

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