They say you should never stop learning because life never stops teaching. Luckily in Donegal a valuable resource is available to help keep up with life’s lessons. The “Lifelong Learning” programme run by Donegal Local Development CLG in collaboration with local education providers offers practical, motivational, and health-promoting workshops and courses free of charge to people of all ages at locations throughout the county. It is part of the Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP) currently being delivered by DLDC. “Lifelong Learning supports individuals on their lifelong journey,” said Programme Co-ordinator Susan Kierce-Marsh of DLDC. “It doesn’t have an employment focus, but instead is designed to increase participants’ knowledge, skills, and competencies, which in turn can provide a big boost to their self-esteem. Everything we do is tailored towards what the individual needs and where they want to go.” Just some of the Lifelong Learning offerings designed to meet local interests and needs include “Mind Your Mental Health”, “Women in the Home – New Beginnings”, “Farming Inheritance, Succession, and Tax Information”, “Mini-Me Yoga”, and “Digital Skills Training”. Information about these and more will be available at an Education and Training Showcase that DLDC is holding on Friday, 13th October, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Finn Valley Leisure Centre in Stranorlar. The event, which is free and open to the public, will feature an address at noon by inspirational Donegal adventurer Nikki Bradley, whose achievements have earned her a Guinness World Record and a national Outstanding Young Person of the Year award. Additional information about Lifelong Learning offerings is available on the DLDC website and at community centres throughout Donegal. The “Mind Your Mental Health” workshop taught by Bill Vaughan of Mental Health Ireland has run at numerous locations in the three years since the Lifelong Learning programme began and has received rave reviews at them all. “This is a very popular workshop which looks at all the things that can cause poor mental health,” Susan said. “We find that people who’ve done this session have a sense that they can take charge of how they feel, which makes the world look brighter to them and leaves them more inclined to see opportunities that come their way.” “Women in the Home – New Beginnings” is a new Lifelong Learning course run in conjunction with NCCWN-Donegal Women’s Network which helps women who may not be on the live register to enter a new phase in their lives. “If you’re not on the live register you’re not invited to anything, you’re just invisible,” Susan said. “This course for women in that situation offers a space where they can identify what they want for themselves and receive support in making their own dreams a reality after looking after the needs of others for so long.” “Farming Inheritance, Succession, and Tax Information” is a Lifelong Learning workshop taught by solicitor Brendan Kelly which has been designed for the agricultural community. “There is a lot of misinformation out there about agricultural succession planning,” Susan said. “This workshop helps participants make those decisions based on accurate and relevant information provided by someone with experience and expertise in the area.” “Mini-Me Yoga”, which offers simple techniques to increase children’s resilience and ability to express themselves, and “Digital Skills Training”, which includes instruction in the use of internet apps that can facilitate contact with loved ones who live far away, are additional Lifelong Learning offerings which have received enthusiastic reviews. “It’s so rewarding when you see people who have participated in the programme and their face lights up because you’ve helped them in a very special way on their journey,” Susan said. “That is very fulfilling.”
More information about DLDC’s Lifelong Learning programme is available on the DLDC website or by ringing Susan Kierce-Marsh at (074) 912 7056 or (087) 984 9386.