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Reaching 10 Years of Community Integration

10 June 2014
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The ‘Reach’ programme run by National Learning Network is celebrating 10 years of supporting people who have experienced difficulties in their lives to become more active in their local community. Participants both past and present joined staff and guests in the BEAT Centre in Balbriggan to mark the success of the innovative programme and celebrate the difference it is making to people’s lives.

 The programme which is funded by the HSE runs on a continuous intake, with an average of 14 people taking part at any given time. Over 90 people have completed the programme since it began in 2004. The programme focuses on the individual interests and skills of each person with elements such as healthy living, independent living skills, cooking and budgeting along with certified FETAC modules in Computer Literacy and Career Planning. Modules are adapted to suit the needs of the individual.
MG who participated in the programme said, “Reach is helping me to get some order back in my life. I can get up and have somewhere to go to learn cooking and it’s helping with my depression. I got work experience in the ARRO store and they’re helping me out with getting a little job. I’ve made great friends here and love going on the trips. We go all over the place, wherever the magic carpet will bring us!”
John Costello, Area Manager, National Learning Network, said “We want to mark the occasion of 10 years of the Reach programme as its success is testament to the hard work and commitment of many people. Reach and its sister service Delvin are flexible programmes whose strengths lie in the strong partnership approach between all stakeholders, a partnership which is best demonstrated by the commitment of the Steering Group in continually striving to develop these services. Based in the BEAT Centre, a mainstream business environment, Reach offers rehabilitative training that is focused on the person and their recovery and it provides participants with opportunities to develop the level of social and personal skills and independence necessary to achieve integration into their community. For us, success is seeing people leading independent lives in their local community.”
National Learning Network offer a range of rehabilitative and vocational training courses funded by the HSE and DDLETB, which allow people who need extra supports the opportunity to gain the qualifications and employment in a way and at a pace that suits their needs. National Learning Network in North Dublin currently provides specialist & mainstream services for over one hundred and ten students. Programmes with national & international accreditation from organisations such as City & Guilds, FETAC and ECDL are taught by instructors who tailor their teaching methods to the individual needs of students depending on the challenges that they face. In the past year, more than 90 per cent of students who completed programmes with National Learning Network at centres throughout the country have progressed to employment or further training and education.