Programmes & Funds

Programmes & Funds

The Ability Programme

The Ability Programme provides funding to local, regional and national projects in the Republic of Ireland that focus on bringing young people with disabilities between the ages of 15 and 29 closer to the labour market. The programme targets young people who are not currently work ready using a range of person-centred supports. This type of work assists young people to identify and follow progression routes based on both their potential and their needs. As a result, the programme promotes positive pathways into education, training and employment for participants.  Ability is co-financed by the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP), and delivered locally in the area by SECAD Partnership.

The objectives of Ability are to:

  • Assist young people with disabilities to develop the confidence and independence required to participate in education, training, employment.
  • Assist young people with disabilities at key transition points between education, training and employment.
  • Support young people with disabilities who are not in education, employment or training to access and participate in education, training, and employment.
  • Build the capacity of mainstream employment services, education and training providers to support the progression of young people with disabilities.
  • Build the capacity of employers to recruit and retain young people with disabilities within their workforce.

The Ability Programme promotes employment prospects and meaningful social roles for young people with disabilities.  Employability relates to the general skills a person needs to enter, stay in and progress in the world of work. The term ‘employability’ recognises the importance of an individual’s skills, competencies and experience when they are looking for work.  A meaningful social role refers to any employment or volunteer role that supports a young person to realise their potential. A meaningful social role will facilitate a young person with a disability to contribute to economic life or to their community to the extent of their ability.

Pictured above: Edel Gallagher and Vicki Kelly of SECAD with Ability programme participants

SECAD is partner to a project supported through the Ability Programme, which will provide supports nationally to over 2,600 young people with disabilities aged between 15 and 29 years old.  SECAD, working with IRD Duhallow and Ballyhoura Development will work with young people with disabilities aged 18 to 29 years recruiting across the respective areas.   The focus of the Programme is on projects aimed at young people with disabilities and is designed to assist in their transition from school to further education, training and employment. The Programme will promote employment prospects and meaningful social roles for young people with disabilities and in particular, young people who are distant from the labour market, using a range of person-centred supports as well as providing work experience for participants.

The Cork based project in which SECAD is a partner, will run over three years from 2018 to 2021. SECAD will work with approximately 10 young people each year in supporting them into employment. SECAD and the other partners (IRD Duhallow and Ballyhoura Development) is working in conjunction with referral partners such as the Cork Association for Autism, Midleton Community Hospital, Cope Foundation, National Learning Network, the DEASP and the Disability Federation of Ireland.

The training programme of support includes art & drama therapy, music, light physical exercise & relaxation techniques, personal development, equine therapy, work readiness, career guidance and more.

A key element of the project role involves SECAD engaging in awareness raising with employers in the area on the supports available to companies employing people with disabilities. This will continue to the identifying and set up of work placement relevant to the ability and capacity of the participants. Work placement will likely be part-time in nature and will also complement community based volunteering options to enhance community engagement and further personal development.  Each participant undergoes a thorough customised vocational assessment by a qualified external contractor which helps identify individual training and work capabilities and support needs.

Please contact us for further information.

Ability Youth Support Officer: Edel Gallagher

Ability is co-financed by the Irish Government and the European Social Fund as part of the ESF Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning 2014-2020

“We need to look at the employer-society relationship through the lens of equality and from the perspective of individuals vulnerable to social exclusion.”

Toni McCaul

Programme Manager, SECAD Partnership CLG



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LEADER Food Initiative for Artisan, Micro and Small Food Producers

€15 million has been allocated nationally by the Dept of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the Dept of Rural and Community Development to the LEADER Food Initiative (Rural Development Programme 2014-2020). Expressions of Interest and full applications are now being accepted.

This initiative aims to support new and existing food and beverage producers to address emerging challenges through investment in areas such as (1) market development, (2) competitiveness, and (3) innovation.

Support for food producers, may include, but is not limited to, the following:
• Artisan, Micro and Small food producers, including those with a focus on collaborative proposals, aimed at production quality and market issues;
• Regional product development, including a focus on marketing distinctive local foodstuffs;
• Marketing and processing for strategically identified sectors, including honey and apple processors;
• Improved marketing, product quality and business skills through support for innovative collaborative processes and so address challenges to co-operation identified in studies on facilitating short supply chains e.g. entry barriers, the need for shared understanding, skills/training, and marketing and business skills deficits.

How to apply
Applications are managed through the LEADER LAGs with applications being processed by the LEADER Implementing partners and recommendations made by the LCDC’s to the DAFM and DRCD. Qualifying projects seeking between €5,000 and €200,000 in grant aid are eligible to apply.

The Implementing Partner for LEADER / LEADER Food in South and West Cork is SECAD Partnership CLG.

For further Information and to make an Application


Ross Curley (West Cork based projects)


Katie Kearns (South Cork based food projects)

Contact SECAD on 021-4613432
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SECAD Partnership CLG
Midleton Community Enterprise Centre, Owennacurra Business Park,
Knockgriffin, Midleton, Co. Cork, P25 Y893

+353 21 4613432