You may have seen the exciting news announced last week about the Open College Network Northern Ireland grants scheme and how People 1st were one of the lucky companies awarded a share of £82,000, towards supporting disadvantaged learners.
We are delighted to be able to use this £2000 grant that we received effectively to support our learners with special needs and it will be put to great use. Hear from People 1st Director Brenda Kernaghan in the video above about how the award will go towards helping our learners.  
For those who are maybe new to the OCN NI, they are a not-for-profit, educational charity and an Awarding Organisation that advances education by developing nationally recognised qualifications and recognising the achievements of adults and young people. We are a proud strategic partner of the OCN NI, who is one of our awarding organisations and a funder. 
Martin Flynn, CEO of the OCN NI with People 1st Director Brenda Kernaghan

In the first grants scheme of its kind in Northern Ireland, the Open College Network NI (OCN NI) has awarded £82K to thirty-four education, voluntary and charitable training providers throughout the province. 

This is the first learner funding scheme of its kind launched in Northern Ireland by an awarding organisation, explained Martin Flynn, CEO, OCN NI.

Martin said: “The Centre Learning Grants Programme was created by OCN NI to help fulfil our charitable function with particular emphasis being given to help those who may be especially disadvantaged and would not otherwise have had the opportunities to engage in education.

“Originally, we planned to award £70K but the number of the entries and quality of the submissions resulted in the OCN NI board of trustees increasing the fund to £82K.  We awarded grants of between £500 and £3,000 to over thirty projects or activities that advance the mission and vision of OCN NI.”

Paul Donaghy Chair of OCN NI, said: “As part of our organisations Corporate & Social Responsibility commitments we are delighted to be in a position to ‘give back’ to learners and training providers through the development of the Grants Programme in line with the stated aims of our charitable function, ensuring the advancement of education for public benefit. This is a first for OCN NI and I am confident the grants will help engage, enrich and equip learners for life.”

Many of our People 1st students have been previous ‘Learning Endeavour’ award winners with the OCN NI annually, and we look forward to more successes, working together in the coming years.
Brenda Kernaghan, People 1st Director alongside representatives from other companies, celebrating the OCN NI grant awards with OCN NI CEO Martin Flynn
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