Call to make award winning training programme available in Kilkenny
Karen Kiernan, CEO of One Family - Ireland’s organisation for people parenting alone, separating and sharing parenting has called on the Government to make the award-winning New Futures training programme available in Kilkenny and across the country.
The European Social Fund (ESF) funded programme recorded an 85% success rate in 2018 and is currently only available in Dublin. Ms Kiernan was speaking at a graduation ceremony for parents of the New Futures and New Steps programmes at the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission offices in Dublin.
Ms Kiernan said, “The success of our programmes shows how targeted supports, such as these specialist training programmes, can support parents on social welfare out of poverty and back to education or employment. These parents are full of potential, hugely resilient, adaptable and committed; they are looking for support so they can support themselves and their families and this training should be available nationally, not just in Dublin.”
Ms Kiernan added, “The European Social Fund (ESF) have funded New Futures and New Steps for three years and we are extremely grateful for their support. But despite its success, the long-term future of the programme remains uncertain. We are calling on the Government and the Department of Employment Affairs & Social Protection to provide mainstream funding for these programmes so parents around Ireland can benefit. In 2018, 85% of graduates who completed New Futures went on to further education or employment. We must support parents so that they can support themselves out of poverty.”
New Futures graduate from 2018 and lone parent of four children, Louise Finnegan, said, “The programme has been hugely beneficial to me. I was supported and challenged to be the best person I could be. But it’s more than that, you feel part of a community and whatever challenges you face there is somebody there to lend a hand. Through the programme I’ve had the opportunity to travel to Luxembourg to speak at a conference and I returned to education last September. One of the best things about the course is that my children see me challenging myself, doing assignments and being confident and that helps their confidence and self-belief.”
Ms Kiernan added, “We are asking the Government and the Department to invest in targeted, measurable supports that make a tangible difference to parents’ lives. Government have all the evidence from their own reports including the Joint Oireachtas Committee for Social Protection Report on the Position of Lone Parents in Ireland - they know one-parent families are some of the poorest families in Ireland and they know what is required to address it. We are asking them to take a first step and fund a programme that is proven to work and to make it available in every county in Ireland.”