• 45 projects to receive funding benefiting almost 2,300 participants, including 27 former Ability Programme providers
  • Grants of up to €200,000 to improve employment skills and provide educational opportunities
  • Focus on providing supports to people with disabilities to start their own business
  • Package is a key part of Government’s new ‘Pathways to Work’ Strategy

Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys TD, has today announced over €7.5 million in funding to support and improve employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

The funding package for 45 projects nationwide is designed to support people with disabilities to improve their employment skills, advance their education or start their own business.

The package is a key part of Pathways to Work commitments in relation to supporting employment opportunities for people with disabilities – the Government’s national employment services strategy.

The successful projects will receive grants of up to €200,000 from the Department of Social Protection.

Funding will be provided to the successful projects from 1September, 2021 to 30 December, 2022. 

Over this period, the various projects aim to work directly with approximately 2,284 participants.

The primary purposeof the funding is to provide people with disabilities the opportunity to gain and sustain employment/self-employment or access education and trainingto improve their employment prospects.

On approving the recommended 45 projects, Minister Humphreys commented:

“I am delighted to announce this new package of funding which is designed to support people with disabilities into employment or self-employment.

“The past 17 months have been very challenging for so many of our citizens, no more than people with disabilities.

“As Minister, I am determined to support people with disabilities in every way I can – whether it’s helping them upskill or arming them with the supports necessary to achieve their ambition to set up their own business or social enterprise.

“I know that this funding will be very important in supporting people with disabilities right across the country to avail of employment opportunities that they have always aspired to reach.”

The Minister added:

“As Minister for Social Protection I have seen first-hand what people with disabilities can achieve in a work environment and the positive impact that this has had on them and their co-workers.

“I am particularly delighted that the 27 organisations funded under the three-year Ability Programme, which was funded by my Department and the European Social Fund, were successful under this measure. This funding gives certainty to these providers to continue their innovative and valuable work.

“The new funding being provided by my Department will give an opportunity to many voluntary and community groups to deliver initiatives that will focus on people with disabilities living in communities the length and breadth of the country.”

The funding is part of the Dormant Accounts Action Plan 2021 and is administered by the Department of Social Protection in conjunction with Pobal. The 45 successful projects will support people with disabilities to access employment/self-employment, improve their career progression opportunities ‘in work’ and improve their employment outcomes through education and training which will contribute to participants being ‘work ready’. Projects will also support potential employers to provide employment for people with a disability.

Pobal will manage the process on behalf of the Department, including payment, contract management, performance monitoring and beneficiary support and auditing.

Details of the projects to receive funding are available here or on gov.ie.