Irish Local Development Network

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Learning For Living (LFL) – Training Programme for People with Disabilities

A Canal Communities Partnership Project

The Canal Communities Partnership (CCP) has committed a considerable amount of staff time and resources to the needs of disabled people. This work has been delivered both locally and in partnership with other LDCs in Dublin. In 2011 CCP focused part of its work in this area on the provision of a community based education/progression programme for adults with disabilities.

This course was designed to complement work being done at an agency level by major voluntary bodies such as Enable Ireland and St Michaels House. It was recognised that many adults did not have access to locally based education /progression options which were relevant to their needs.

Apart from its benefits to participants, the LFL programme was based on the social model of disability and part of its overall remit was to develop ‘local advocates’ on this issue.

The aims of LFL were:

  • To develop the ability of participants to live independently
  • To provide participants with basic skills and resources in IT, personal development, money management
  • To be a first chance progression opportunity for those interested in pursuing further education and training

Out of 20 applications a mixed ability group of12 participants started the programme. Participants were a mix of adults with intellectual disabilities, physical disabilities and mental health issues. All participants were in receipt of a DSP disability benefit payment.

The programme ran two days per week between May and December 2011. Modules in IT, Personal Skills, Social Awareness and Self Advocacy were delivered. Of the 12 participants who started , 8 finished the whole programme and the others completed some of the modules.

The partners in the project were Dept. of Social Protection, City of Dublin VEC, main voluntary agencies such as St. Michaels House, Enable Ireland and Menni Services. Funding for the programme was provided by the DSP and CDVEC. This allowed for the recruitment of tutors and support workers, the latter being essential to the programme’s success.

An independent evaluation of the programme was prepared and completed early in 2012. This evaluation study included interviews with CCP staff, tutors, participating agencies and all participants.

The evaluation study described the programme as “a positive experience for all who completed it.” National service providers, whose members/clients participated in the programme, were positive in their views of the added value such programmes give. They particularly welcomed the fact that the programme was run within the local community as it enhanced participants feeling they belonged to their local neighbourhood

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