Dáil Éireann - Volume 554 - 09 October, 2002
Written Answers. - Voluntary Activity.
Dr. Upton Dr. Upton
666. Dr. Upton asked the Minister for Education and Science if, in line with the Government White Paper Supporting Voluntary Activity he has appointed a voluntary activity unit responsible for his Department's co-operation with voluntary and community organisations; if so, the unit's personnel, activities and work to date; if not, the reason therefore and the personnel in his Department responsible for co-operation with voluntary and community organisations. [16734/02]
Minister for Education and Science (Mr. N. Dempsey)
Minister for Education and Science (Mr. N. Dempsey): My Department is represented on the implementation and advisory committee for the White Paper on voluntary activity by the principal officer in the youth affairs section.
Responsibility for voluntary activity in the education sector spans a number of units within the Department but primarily youth affairs and further education sections while the Department's social inclusion unit has overall responsibility for our input into the overall national anti-poverty strategy process.
The youth affairs section operates a grant-in-aid scheme for major national and regional youth work organisations involved in the provision of youth work programmes and services. The vast bulk of these projects are locally or community based. The section also administers a special projects scheme for disadvantaged youth, all of which are community-based. In addition, a local youth clubs grant scheme is in operation to assist local youth clubs in the running costs of their clubs, e.g., start-up grant, equipment, insurance, etc.
Within the further education sector, the White Paper on adult education, Learning for Life, included a commitment to promote the develop ment of community education models as an integral part of adult education. The Department has now progressed this by recently announcing the provision of a network of thirty four community education facilitators who will be employed by vocational education committees across the country. The role of these facilitators will be to support the development of new community based learning groups, to network providers and to help them access funding, to share good practice and monitor quality and to promote the development of partnerships with the statutory sector, particularly in relation to outreach and referral.
In addition to this, 600 places under the Back to Education initiative, under which part-time options are being developed in further education, are being provided exclusively for community education providers this year. Application packs have been issued with a deadline of 30 October 2002 and three regional seminars have been held to publicise and explain the initiative. These measures are additional to the existing grant scheme to vocational education committees under which some €4 million per annum is allocated to vocational education committees for community education, and is distributed largely in the form of tuition hours to a variety of community and voluntary groups.
Dáil Éireann 554 Written Answers. Voluntary Activity.