New CES research report confirms the transformative power of community education for lone parents

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A new CES research report ‘The Power of Community Education: Supporting lone parents to fulfil their potential in education, employment, and society’ was launched by Norma Foley TD, Minister for Education at an event at the National Concert Hall on Wednesday 17 April 2024.  

Lone parents with low levels of education face disproportionate risks of poverty and social exclusion.  

L-R: Sharon Burke (Beachaire Fund), Norma Foley TD, Anne Eustace (CES), Dr. Inez Bailey (CES)

The Research

The research, funded by the Beachaire Fund and Community Foundation Ireland, and conducted between June 2022 and July 2023, found that lone parents engaging in community education programmes experienced a transformative impact on their lives.  

By removing barriers to their educational success and personal growth, community education empowers lone parents to create a better future for themselves and their families.  

The Report

The report highlights how community education providers are improving employability for lone parents by identifying and responding to skills gaps and local employment opportunities and delivering tailored courses accessible in their local areas.

The Findings

The research drew on the experience of 8 community organisations delivering programmes to lone parents across Ireland, involving over 135 lone parent learner participants and over 50 educators and managers from the 8 organisations.  

The research findings centre around 10 key messages and recommendations for policy makers.

Sharon Burke, Funder Advisor at the Beachaire Fund stated:

"This research shows that community education transforms lives. Where the wraparound support for programmes includes 1:1 mentoring support and provision for childcare, lone parents can pursue education without worrying about their children's care, enabling them to fully engage and achieve their goals, progress in further and higher education and training, paid and better paid employment, and involvement in their community.”

Anne Eustace, CES Research Project Specialist said

"We were delighted to have been able to consult with lone parents and community education providers to deliver this compelling research through the series of 8 case studies. The findings clearly demonstrate the power of community education to support lone parents to return to education, better their employment and life prospects, along with the added value of a positive ripple effect on the health and wellbeing of their children.”

Practitioner Workshop

CES will be sharing the learning from the research with a wide range of people interested in community education and lone parents at a Practitioner Workshop on Thursday 9th May.  

The aim of the Workshop is to inform practice and policy and is designed for people working with and/or with an interest in community education as a support for lone parents or other vulnerable groups. This includes community education providers, practitioners/tutors, academics and other interested people.

More information on how to join the Practitioner Workshop can be found here.

Findings, assets and resources

The research report and case studies can be found here

Some of the participants of the research tell their stories here:

Pamela's Story

Alana's Story

Inga's Story

Register for the event

To register for this event please RSVP here

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