Offaly disability project receives government funding boost

Project 'Ability' is aimed at assisting young people with disabilities in further education or the workplace

Justin Kelly


Justin Kelly


An Offaly disability activation project is among 27 initiatives set to receive a funding boost as part of a new government programme. The Offaly Integrated Local Development Company will receive a slice of the €16 million set aside by the government to help young people with disabilities transition from school to further education, training or the workplace.

The funding announcement was made on Friday by Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty, and Minister of State with special responsibility for Disabilities, Finian McGrath.

The €16 million will help 27 projects deliver a new pre-activation Programme for young people with disabilities, called “Ability”.

The Ability Programme will provide supports to over 2,600 young people with disabilities aged between 15 to 29 years old.

The focus of the Programme is on projects aimed at young people with disabilities and is designed to assist in their transition from school to further education, training and employment. The Programme will promote employment prospects and meaningful social roles for young people with disabilities and in particular, young people who are distant from the labour market, using a range of person-centered supports.

This announcement brings to fruition the results of a long-period of planning, consultation and assessment for the Department and its partner Pobal.

Initially it was expected that funding for the programme would amount to some €10 million over a three year period. However, given the quality of the proposals received by Pobal, funding has been put in place of €16 million to support all 27 projects recommended by Pobal.

Speaking at the announcement, Minister Doherty said, “The funding being made available, through the Ability programme, seeks to directly address the barriers faced by young people with disabilities.  The programme seeks to support young people with disabilities, who are able to, and want to work, to navigate their individual transition period into employment and I welcome the roll out of the services to be provided by the various organisations over the next three years.”

Also speaking at the announcement, Minister McGrath said, “In announcing the funding of these 27 projects the Government is delivering on commitments within the Comprehensive Employments Strategy for People with Disabilities (2015 – 2024), particularly under action point 5.1 which seeks to provide a comprehensive programme of employment supports to assist people with disabilities to find and retain work, regardless of the level of their support need.

“For all of us a key period in life is that transition period between school and education or employment, as we seek to follow our own individual career paths.  This transition period, as we know, can be difficult for people with disabilities.  In putting in place this new ‘Ability’ programme, through these 27 projects, the Government is providing a pre-activation structure that is designed to support young people with disabilities through their own individual transition period, in order to achieve their own employment ambitions.”

The Ability Programme is co-funded by the Irish Government and the European Social Fund as part of the ESF Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning 2014-2020.


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