€13m in European funding for Shared Learning to help 'promote peace and prosperity'

The Special EU Programmes Body has announced new funding awards totalling €13,321,097 to support a range of projects delivering formal and non-formal shared learning.
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These projects are aimed at supporting school civic exchanges and collaboration between youth organisations on a cross-community and cross-border basis, whilst also including a focus on addressing educational disadvantage.

The money is coming from the €1.14bn PEACEPLUS Programme.

The projects receiving the funding are: Shared Education for Positive Innovation led by Co-operation Ireland; United Youth Initiatives led by Healthy Kidz Community Interest Company; Young Social Innovators - Ignite Community led by Young Social Innovators; A Shared Agenda for Peace led by YouthAction Northern Ireland.

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This announcement follows the award in December of €45m for youth services in Northern Ireland and the border counties.

The PEACEPLUS Programme has been designed to promote peace and prosperity across Northern Ireland and the border counties of Ireland and builds upon the success of previous EU PEACE and INTERREG Programmes. The Programme will be delivered over five years and will support a wide range of sectors including sustainable transport, health and social care, environmental protection, rural regeneration, smart towns and villages, and youth services.

PEACEPLUS is managed by the Special EU Programmes Body and is funded in partnership by the European Union, the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the Government of Ireland and the Northern Ireland Executive.

Speaking about the funding announcement, Education Minister Paul Givan said: “This investment will benefit a large number of children and young people, providing increased opportunities to engage, interact and learn alongside their peers from a variety of backgrounds. The outcomes of this will help contribute to a better future for them, their communities and wider society.”

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Minister for Education, Ms Norma Foley T.D. said: "These successful initiatives have been meticulously modelled to complement and build on the foundations of the previous PEACE IV Programme and include a focus on tackling educational disadvantage, promoting inclusivity and diversity, enhancing engagement opportunities, and increasing participation of children and young people from all backgrounds together. I also welcome the proposed provision of supports to their teachers and youth workers through meaningful cross-border and cross-community collaboration.

“I eagerly anticipate our continued engagement with our Northern Ireland, British and EU colleagues and stakeholders to utilise the full potential of this new PEACEPLUS Programme."

SEUPB CEO Gina McIntyre said: “We are delighted to make these awards to this sector. Shared learning is a fundamental principal of an equal and integrated society and a core component of PEACEPLUS. Supporting shared learning activities in both the formal and non-formal education setting, these projects will assist young people from diverse backgrounds to learn and grow together.

"Young people who are most at risk of under-achievement will benefit from tailored solutions to ensure they reach their full potential and enjoy better life opportunities. Supporting these projects will result in more of our citizens feeling the benefit of peace and having an opportunity to share in increased prosperity," Gina McIntyre added.

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