The Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, Roderic O’Gorman T.D., today announced two new funding schemes, worth €800,000 and aimed at supporting staff and expanding the use of technology in community and voluntary organisations working with children, young people and their families.
The two schemes form part of the Department’s What Works Initiative, which looks to maximise the impact of prevention and early intervention to improve outcomes for children and young people, and is funded through Dormant Accounts.
Alongside the two funding schemes, the Minister also launched a new Learning Strategy for the What Works initiative.
The Learning Together Fund is open for applications from today (April 9th), and will support professionals working in children, youth and family services with their learning requirements, peer interaction, project collaborations and knowledge dissemination. There is a total of €200,000 available under this fund and organisations can apply for a maximum of €20,000.
Rethink Ireland have been allocated €600,000 in funding for the ‘Children and Youth Digital Solutions’ Fund, which will open for applications on 15th April 2021 and aims to help projects supporting children and young people’s services to become more efficient, transparent, inclusive and accessible by means of the innovative use of technology.
Launching the funding schemes, Minister O’Gorman said:
“These funding measures will make an important difference to the lives of children, young people and their families. They are designed to provide practical support to services focused on providing high-quality prevention and early intervention services for children, young people and their families, while encouraging the sharing of learning and collaboration. We know that by intervening early in a child’s life, or early in the onset of difficulties, we can improve lives and address the impact of disadvantage.”
CEO of Rethink Ireland, Deirdre Mortell, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has made our society become even more reliant on technology to learn, work and socialise. Technology has the ability to connect us to community, to learning and to new ideas. Unfortunately, the pandemic has also exposed the digital divide and the challenges some young people face in terms of accessing and using technology. Therefore, it is timely that today Rethink Ireland is launching the Digital Solutions Fund.”
Finally, Minister O’Gorman announced the publication of the What Works Learning Strategy. This strategy is intended to improve the knowledge and skills of professionals working with children, young people and their families to use prevention and early intervention. It sets out how learning is being supported under What Works, and what the initiative will achieve in this area overall.
Minister O’Gorman said, ‘I am pleased that this strategy has been published. It sets out how we can develop more learning opportunities, ultimately to improve outcomes for children and young people, especially those who are vulnerable. I know learning under What Works has had a significant impact already in supporting prevention and early intervention across the children’s sector and wider system through events such as our Festival of Learning , but also that there are further opportunities and needs to address in this important sector.’