The Reach Fund 2024

The Reach Fund delivers funding to improve access and supports for educationally disadvantaged learners who participate in community education programmes across Ireland.

The Reach Fund was launched by the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD in 2020, initially designed to support the most disadvantaged learners throughout the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Reach Fund was previously named the Mitigating Against Educational Disadvantage Fund (MAEDF).

The overarching aim of this fund is to increase the participation of disadvantaged learners in education, particularly those who are undertaking literacy and skills programmes.

Community Education providers can apply for funding across several categories including learner assistance, green projects, support for refuge groups and digital supports.

Around the country, the projects supported by the Reach Fund help to support online learning, connect communities and provide social supports to the most vulnerable groups. These priority cohorts include the long-term unemployed; young people; people with disabilities; members of the Traveller and Roma communities; migrants and refugees; women wishing to return to the labour market; and lone parents.

Call for Applications

Community education providers are now being given the opportunity to apply for funding for eligible projects under the Reach Fund for 2024. Funding will be administered to community education groups who apply through the 16 Education and Training Boards (ETBs) across Ireland.

SOLAS and the network of ETBs are now inviting community education providers to apply for funding through the 2024 Reach Fund.

Applications can be made by community education groups by completing a funding application available through adult education providers in your local ETB.

Contact your local ETB here.

The Reach Fund will focus on improving key capacity and supports by:

  • assisting ETBs and community education providers with the necessary funds to increase their capacity to address the decline in participation of disadvantaged learners (especially those engaged in literacy and basic skills programmes at NFQ levels 1 to 3).

  • enabling the investment to build a digital infrastructure of community education providers to increase their capacity to deliver online learning and blended learning in order to meet the complex needs of a diverse range of learners.

  • empowering learners by supporting projects which bolster online learning capabilities and resources, connecting communities, providing social support and reaching out to lost learners where education stalled due to accessibility issues.

  • reconnecting some of the most disadvantaged learner groups such as the long-term unemployed; young people; people with disabilities; members of the Traveller and Roma communities; migrants and refugees; women wishing return to work; and lone parents.

Categories Eligible for Funding Consideration are:

  • Community education learner assistance support; including education outreach, mentoring projects, transport costs for learners, urgent educational response.

  • Innovative green projects.

  • Projects focused on increasing participation in learning of target groups.

  • Events/awareness campaigns that contribute to equality policy and legislation.

  • Community groups in pre-development phase to support the most marginalised and disadvantaged groups.

  • Support for refugee groups to support education and training delivery and promote and/or support cultural and social inclusion, including research and/or needs analysis.

Support the ALL strategy, specific actions that:

  • support individuals and groups with unmet literacy needs to access education and training offered by ETBs and community education providers.

  • target funding on access to technology and devices

  • expand community access to Wi-Fi and broadband resources.