Longford and Westmeath Education Training Board receives Reach Funding.

SOLAS, the state agency responsible for Further Education and Training (FET), announced over €200,000 in funding for Longford and Westmeath ETB, to support marginalised learners to access community education programmes in local communities, through €5 million in national Reach Funding.

The funding, announced on Monday, will support almost 800 learners across the Longford and Westmeath area to access and participate in local community education provision including online learning, literacy and basic skills programmes.

The funding allocated to disadvantaged learners across the Longford and Westmeath region will be used by local projects on the ground and will support participation in online learning, connect communities, and provide social supports to the most vulnerable groups in the local communities.

In Longford, both the Family Resource Centres, Lus na Gréine in Granard and Bridgeways in Ballymahon have used Reach funding, under ‘Innovative Green Projects’ to develop community gardens.

These outdoor facilities have become a vibrant space for members of the community to meet and learn new skills in a safe and supported environment.

Manager of Lus na Gréine , Eileen Finan said: “Reach funding has empowered Lus na Gréine FRC to overcome educational barriers through the ‘Innovative Green Projects’ initiative.

“This project has successfully attracted individuals eager to learn in a dynamic environment, integrating conversation and hands-on activities with green spaces and living plants in our new community garden space. Participants have highly praised this approach. We commend this innovative project and extend our gratitude to our funders SOLAS and LWETB”.

Antonine Healy, Director of Further Education and Training, LWETB said “We are delighted to receive over €200,000 in funding which will enhance the essential work done by community education providers across Longford and Westmeath. This vital funding will go a long way to support some of the hardest-to-reach people in our local communities.

“Funding will be used to build a digital infrastructure in our local region and enable us to continue delivering access to learning opportunities for our diverse communities. I would also like to commend the work of the Community Education Facilitators who on behalf of LWETB work continuously with community groups across Longford and Westmeath.”

Since 2020, thousands of initiatives have received Reach Funding which has helped to empower learners; build digital infrastructures to foster inclusion and support learning in the Longford and Westmeath region and across Ireland. It has helped to develop safe learning spaces, the digital divide, build stronger learning communities, and increase the capacity of community education organisations across local communities.


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