Forum Connemara has received €724,583 to fund an employment training programme for people with disabilities.
The Ability Programme is a three year course for people with a disability aged between 15-29 who are transitioning from education to employment or who haven’t been able to find work for a long period.
It’s described as a “person centric” programme that will help people, who may have been denied opportunities because of their disability, find out what they ideally want to do with their lives, and then help them develop the skills to pursue that path.
Galway West TD and Minister of State Seán Kyne has confirmed the funding allocation for Forum Connemara, saying that this will help people with a disability be more fully included in their community.
“The programme being launched today goes hand in hand with community development, with supporting and fostering more inclusive communities.” Minister Kyne said, and added that Forum Connemara is the perfect choice to lead the programme in Galway.
“The team at Forum Connemara has a wealth of experience in community development and is the ideal partner to lead this important programme in Galway.”
Forum Connemara is a Local Development Company based out of Letterfrack which aims to develop economic opportunities in Connemara by providing social supports for at-risk adolescents, promoting rural development through the LEADER programme, and now by helping people with a disability get onto the workforce.
The Ability Programme itself is run by Pobal, a non-profit that manages programmes on behalf of the government by handling funding and working with community groups who implement them in their local areas.
In order to qualify for the Ability programme applicants must either receive a disability allowance or invalidity pension, be in receipt of illness benefits for more than three months, or be referred to Forum by an organisation supporting young people with disabilities.
Referrals are accepted from the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, Primary Care teams, the National Education Psychological Service, Community Mental Health Services, HSE Disability Services, residential or day services, or special schools.
Nationally, the Ability programme will support 2,600 people across two dozen different projects including the one run by Forum Connemara.