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Supporting Family Carers Across Ireland Project Launch with Faculty of Lifelong Learning, SETU Carlow and Family Carers Ireland

24/05/2022
Supporting Family Carers Across Ireland Project Launch with Faculty of Lifelong Learning, SETU Carlow and Family Carers Ireland

The Faculty of Lifelong Learning at SETU Carlow, in partnership with Family Carers Ireland, hosted the ‘Supporting Family Carers Across Ireland’ project launch at Carlow campus on Friday, 20 May.

Family Carers Ireland is the national charity supporting the 500,000+ family carers across the country who care for loved ones such as children or adults with additional needs, physical or intellectual disabilities, frail older people, those with palliative care needs or those living with chronic illnesses, mental ill-health or addiction.

The partnership began in 2018 with the co-creation of the level 6 Certificate in Family Caring which was delivered in nine different regions across the country in 2019 and 2020. The course provides access to third-level education for family carers who may not otherwise have the opportunity to take part. Additionally, family carers in receipt of Carer’s Allowance can only work a maximum of 18.5 hours per week, which limits their potential income. Therefore, funded part-time third-level opportunities, such as the Certificate in Family Caring, are the only viable higher education options for them.

Ireland’s Higher Education Authority awards performance funding in recognition of the exemplary contributions that higher education institutions make to society, the environment and economy at local, national and international levels. In recognition of the Faculty’s work with Family Carers Ireland, it was awarded €1,000,000 to expand the project over three years from 2022 to 2024.

“The award of funding to work with Family Carers Ireland is testament to the dedication and incredible work undertaken by our Faculty of Lifelong Learning at SETU Carlow and its commitment to providing undergraduate and postgraduate programmes for social and community benefit. This is truly transformative education at its best and SETU is creating and embracing a culture of lifelong learning that transforms our society and enables people to participate fully in the workforce, in their homes, in their communities and in the wider society” commented Dr Joe Collins, Head of Faculty of Lifelong Learning at SETU, Carlow.

“Family Carers Ireland is delighted to launch the ‘Supporting Family Carers Across Ireland’ project and to continue the incredible partnership that commenced in 2018 when SETU (formerly IT Carlow) and FCI co-developed and delivered the first Certificate in Family Caring acknowledging and accrediting the life experience and care skills that so many family carers have developed caring for loved ones at home. We know how valuable returning to education can be for family carers not only from an academic viewpoint but also in providing opportunities to meet fellow carers and share their experience and wealth of knowledge whilst providing peer support to one another. Our sincere thanks to HEA for providing this funding and we look forward to rolling out the entire project” stated Catherine Cox, Head of Communications and Policy, Family Carers Ireland.

The project aims to engage family carers across Ireland in a transformative and holistic educational experience with SETU. It is about supporting and promoting the health, wellbeing and quality of life of family carers and those for whom they care, while recognising the enormous contribution family carers make to our society. The project is focused on enabling family carers to feel more confident in their individual caring roles, feel listened to, valued and not alone as they look after their loved ones. It also promotes family carers’ self-care strategies so that they can also meet their own personal needs, while maintaining a caring role for others.

“Family carers often go unrecognised for their multi-disciplinary skill set they develop in their everyday roles as carers. The Faculty of Lifelong Learning at SETU Carlow, through the development of the Certificate in Family Caring and delivery of the same in collaboration with Family Carers Ireland and the Higher Education Authority, have given recognition to family carers, encouraged their personal development and promoted recognition of family carers as valued members of the community. This initiative is breaking down the barriers for them to engage in third level educational opportunities whilst recognising the existing skill sets family carers possess and continually develop in their daily caring roles” commented Nicola McEntee, Project Co-ordinator at Faculty of Lifelong Learning, SETU Carlow.

If you or someone you know is a family carer and would like to take part in the courses on offer through the Supporting Family Carers Across Ireland project, please contact Nicola McEntee at the Faculty of Lifelong Learning, SETU Carlow, at 059 917 5280 or email lll.cw@setu.ie

Caption: Supporting Family Carers Across Ireland Launch hosted by  Faculty of Lifelong Learning at SETU, Carlow, and Family Carers Ireland. Pictured here: Mr David Denieffe, Registrar and Vice-President for Academic Affairs, Dr Joseph Collins, Head of Faculty of Lifelong Learning, Lindsay Malone, Deputy Head of Faculty of Lifelong Learning, Catherine Cox, Head of Communications and Policy at Family Carers Ireland, Cathaoirleach of Carlow County Council, Fintan Phelan, Family Carer, Audrey Rossa, and family carers participating on the Certificate in Family Caring.