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Mayor recognises positive impact of European Social Fund

12 September 2019

The Mayor of Derry and Strabane, Councillor Michaela Boyle, has praised the work of the many local organisations who are delivering much needed support in the areas of skills and employment with the support of European Social Funding.

There are currently 27 funded projects operating within the Council area progressing the strategic aim of the European Social Fund (ESF) Programme in Northern Ireland (NI) to combat poverty and enhance social inclusion. The programme focuses on reducing economic inactivity and increasing the skills base of those currently in work and creating future potential participants for the workforce.

Acknowledging the impact of the projects within the wider community, Mayor Boyle said ESF had assisted hundreds of local people in need of employment.

“The European Social Fund offers people alternative pathways into education and employment and its impact here cannot be underestimated,” she stressed. “It provides local projects with vital support to help them deliver the programmes they need within community areas, focusing on skills, education and even the social skills we all need to successfully find a path to employment.

“I would like to recognise the positive work that is being done by so many local organisations with the support of ESF. It provides a lifeline to many in need of assistance in taking those first steps towards getting into work.”

The programmes on offer are geared towards building confidence, equipping people with new skills, and helping them to gain the qualifications they need to progress to employment. Derry City and Strabane District Council currently provides £200,000 in match funding to assist in the delivery of these vital projects.

Skills manager with Council, Tina Gillespie, highlighted some of the successes to date. “Last year over 2,720 residents in Derry and Strabane availed of support from the various programmes. This resulted in 676 residents gaining employment. Project promoters also delivered a total of 529 industry led qualifications such as CSR cards, health and safety and food hygiene certificates etc, and 1,563 recognised qualification.

“The work carried out by all the projects is very encouraging. The Council recognises the value of the ESF provision and has responded by providing match funding for five of the ESF funded projects at The Women’s Centre, Skills North West (Triax), USEL, The Conservation Volunteers and Job Directions.  

“Without the combined collaboration of all the groups it would not be possible to assist so many people some of which required very specialised assistance. ESF provision is also provided by Enterprise North West, Youth Action NI, Action on Hearing Loss, Orchardville, Active Inclusion Project, Princes Trust, Action Mental Health, NIACRO, Disability Action, Customised Training, Derry Youth and Community, RNIB, Cedar, RapidNI and Include Youth.”

Margaret Logue from The Women’s Centre, one of the organisations who receives match funding from DCSDC, highlighted some of the achievements delivered by her organisation.

“The European Union ESF programme combined with the match funding input has meant that our local projects have been successful in engaging participants from communities in the council area. Communities most affected by structural and endemic economic and social disadvantage. These results were delivered mainly by community and voluntary sector organisations.

“At the Women’s Centre for example, we have developed a very effective and successful model for education and development through our ESF project. We promote equality by tackling issues faced by women in accessing education and employment. We provide a holistic range of support for each individual including childcare and personal development. The quote below says it best from a woman who completed the programme.

‘I attended the Jobs Hub and had job search support from the centre. It really boosted my confidence to get the guidance to be able to complete a CV, and then get employment. I love my job and I am very happy there six months later.’

Anyone who wants to find out more about ESF funding can contact Eileen McGrinder on 02871 253253 for further information.  

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