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Bringing Education to the Heart of the Community


Kilcooley Women's Education Group was formed in 1995 when 5 women and a tutor (who met whilst working in the local ACE Scheme) decided to set up a group whose aim was to promote and establish an education programme for women, young adults and pre-school children. With the support of Jack Young (Headmaster), the group was allowed the use of an empty classroom in Kilcooley Primary School. The group embarked on short courses such as 'Read to Succeed' and 'Count on Success', which were aimed specifically at women with pre-school children, giving them assistance in preparing their children for Primary 1. Over the next few years, the group began to swell in numbers, with more and more local women coming on board with a keen interest in learning how to use a computer and to re-skill to look for employment.

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Computer classes were running daily as well as "Improve Your Maths & English" classes. The Group negotiated the use of 2 more classrooms. One classroom was turned into a creche to enable the group to look after pre-school children while their mother/guardian was attending classes. This would not have been possible without the help of North Down Borough Council, who supplied the services of a qualified creche worker to work alongside volunteers.

The other classroom was turned into a study room, with the help of a £5,000 grant from the Community Fund. This enabled the group to run computer and academic classes such as Maths and English at the same time along with taster courses in leisure topics such as aromatherapy, reflexology and crafts which the group hoped would attract women with a fear of returning to education. From 1995 to 2003, the group operated purely by people giving their time voluntarily. However, due to the success of the project and the number of women using the service, the Volunteers were finding they needed paid staff to take over the day to day running of the group.

Currently the Group employes seven people (3 full time and 3 part time). Statistics for the academic year 2007/08 indicated 250 women were now members of the group and the organisation has faciilitated over 500 individual learning.

The Group also works in partnership with the South Eastern Education and Library Board, Banardos and the Ulster Community Hospitals Trust in a 'School Age Mother' (SAMs) project. Together we will strive to retain the young mothers interest in education by intergrating them into our varied programme.

In addition to the educational programme, the Group runs a successful 'Healthy Living Project'. The Group facilites smoking cessation, weigh to health, nutritional advice, and the walking group.

If you want to discuss your educational options, please contact Carol on 91478292 or © December 20, 2008
Website designed by Elaine Conn ecdesigns

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