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Learner Support Service

Addressing unmet literacy needs among homeless service users in Cork.

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"The participants really enjoyed the project, and the group was amazing. They worked really well together. We always had a good conversation about photography and their lives. They enjoyed the time too - being creative and feeling seen."- Quote from facilitator

This project provided essential assistance to homeless service users in Cork, who face unmet literacy, numeracy, and digital literacy needs. The goal was to empower these individuals to fully engage with and benefit from a comprehensive range of supports offered by Cork Simon Community’s Education, Training, and Employment Project.

To achieve this, the Learner Support Service developed a programme of informal literacy-related activities to engage the most vulnerable in homeless services and build their confidence to ‘take the next step’.  

Project activities took place between September and December 2023 in a variety of locations, such as the Cork Simon Community’s Housing First and Rapid Rehousing & Tenancy or the O’Mahoney Ballea Castle Farm in Carrigaline. 41 Learners took part in ALL-funded activities.  

Key activities included:  

Outreach: Strengthening links with Cork Simon’s Housing First, Rapid Rehousing, and High Support Housing teams to build positive relationships with residents and motivate their participation in learning supports. 

Engagement: Implementing a programme of non-threatening learning activities that engaged the most vulnerable and built their confidence to ‘take the next step’. 

Transition and Progression: Facilitating seamless referral pathways into more formal learning opportunities, under our community education and work-related training strands. 

Classroom Support: Supporting learners who needed extra help with reading, writing, numeracy, using computers, and completing coursework. 

Digital Skills for Job Seekers: Supporting job seekers with using technology, navigating job listing websites, setting up accounts, searching for vacancies, filling out applications, applying online. 

"It was great to take some of our migrant service users, who are still learning English, on the trip to Limerick. For many of them, it was their first time having such an opportunity since arriving in Ireland. It felt amazing to introduce them to Irish history and culture in such an engaging way. Getting out of the city also gave them a much needed break and mental distraction from the difficulties of homelessness for a day." Quote from facilitator

This project was the result of a collaboration between Cork Simon Community, Focus Ireland, and CETB. 

For more information, please contact Sinead Maloney, Cork Regional Literacy Coordinator at  

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