Almost £100,000 is to be invested in a ‘Lifelong Learning programme’ catering for communities in Ballymena and Ballyclare.
Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland has announced the funding which will enable the Northern Regional College to run a 17 month programme, which will provide a range of innovative and exciting activities, free of charge to participants, to engage the wider communities of these Neighbourhood Renewal Areas.
The College will provide learning/taster sessions which will be shaped by the needs of the young people (16+) involved and also offer a range of community based activities and classes for other residents, such as healthy eating, how to use the internet and arts and crafts.
Minister McCausland said: “This programme will help promote a positive experience of learning and will result in some participants progressing to further learning, volunteering or employment opportunities.
“I recognise that if we are to tackle the long term spiral of deprivation we must improve the life chances of those living in our most vulnerable communities. It is vital that all people, regardless of background are given the opportunity to attain qualifications to better contribute to the local community and aspire to break the cycle of social deprivation.”
Trevor Neilands, NRC Chief Executive said: “We are delighted that this project has been approved. It removes financial barriers for individuals from these areas to engage in lifelong learning and supports our Community education strategy as it will have a positive impact on the well being of those involved by providing access to learning and encouraging progression.”