Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys TD, has today announced funding of €2 million to support and improve the employment opportunities for family carers.
The new initiative, under the Dormant Accounts Fund, will place a special focus on enhancing carer wellbeing, reducing isolation, building work readiness and supporting young carers.
Former carers will also be supported under the initiative, which is being rolled out by the Department of Social Protection in conjunction with Pobal.
Announcing the new €2 million fund today, Minister Humphreys said:
“Supporting our family carers has always been a key priority of mine as Minister for Social Protection.
“This funding will be used to support our family carers to embark on educational and training courses and improving their employment opportunities.
“It will provide the opportunity to family carers to recognise, value and build on the unique skills they have.
“So, for example, we will be funding the likes of mentoring and coaching courses that will equip carers with a pathway to employment, empowering them to rebuild the confidence that can sometimes be lost during a caring role.
“We will also be helping our carers in terms of improving their IT skills, which will greatly assist in securing employment.”
Some of the activities that will be funded under the initiative include:
- Online family carer support groups
- Provision of mentoring from a qualified career coach/employment specialist
- Upskilling through education grants and training
- IT skills training
- Information sessions
- Resources that include practical information designed to help in particular teachers and staff in educational settings to identify and support young carers
- Creation of digital resources for disseminating information to educators and young carers
- Activities which focus on work with schools to support students with caring responsibilities
- Initiatives that raise awareness among employers on the benefits of retaining working family carers in paid employment
Also welcoming the funding, Liam O’Sullivan of Care Alliance Ireland said:
“Thanks to funding from the government we have been delivering a range of online supports to family carers for several years now. People said you can’t do supports properly online. We have proven them wrong. Using innovative online methods and through the power of peer support our projects are making a real difference to family carers well-being in every county across Ireland.
“We encourage all organisations interested in supporting family carers to apply for funding under this scheme that opens today”
Minister Humphreys continued:
“I am delighted that my Department is working with our carers’ associations to ensure this funding has a really positive impact.
“We need to make every effort to support family carers to manage both work and, in the case of young carers, education and caring responsibilities.
“I have listened to many carers speaking about the need of having an identity and a purpose, separate from their intense caring role. In addition, there are carers who report the struggle relating to the balance of work and care.
“I am particularly conscious of the needs of young carers trying to manage caring responsibilities whilst progressing their education and careers, as highlighted at the Annual Carers’ Forum, hosted by my Department in May.
“I want to support these young people on their own life journey – and I have no doubt this initiative will play a key part in achieving that goal.”
Pobal is managing the process on behalf of the Department of Social Protection. Guidelines and the application form will be available for download from Monday, 19th September on www.pobal.ie. The closing date for receipt of applications is 12th October. The successful initiatives are due to commence in January 2023 and will run until June 2024.
Notes for Editor
Pobal is a not-for-profit intermediary organisation that manages various funding programmes on behalf of the Irish Government and the EU.
The Dormant Accounts Acts 2001-2012, together with the Unclaimed Life Assurance Policies Act 2003, provide a framework for the administration of unclaimed accounts in credit institutions (i.e. banks, building societies and An Post) and unclaimed life assurance policies in insurance undertakings.
The main purpose of the legislation is to reunite account or policy holders with their funds in credit institutions or insurance undertakings and in this regard, these bodies are required to take steps to identify and contact the owners of dormant accounts and unclaimed life assurance policies.
In order to utilise the unused funds in dormant accounts and unclaimed policies to best use, the legislation also introduced a scheme for the disbursement of funds that are unlikely to be reclaimed from dormant accounts and unclaimed policies for the purposes of measures to assist:
- the personal and social development of people who are economically or socially disadvantaged;
- the educational development of people who are educationally disadvantaged; or
- people with a disability.
Care Alliance Ireland is a network of 95 not-for-profit organisations supporting family carers. It is currently delivering a range of online supports to family carers including an online family carer support group involving nearly 4,000 family carers and an IT focussed project, Return Ready. For further details contact Liam O’Sullivan, Executive Director on 087 207 3265, email@example.com, www.carealliance.ie