Fáilte Isteach’s team of over 950 volunteers recognised by EU Award

Posted on 24th October 2016

Aine Brady and Ariana Ball receive the Lifelong Learning Award 2016 in Brussels

Fáilte Isteach, a Third Age community based project which involves volunteers welcoming migrants to the community through English language conversational classes, has just been awarded the 2016 Lifelong Learning Award launched by The Lifelong Learning Platform. The aim of the award is to give visibility to innovative practices taking place all over Europe in order to attract public attention on lifelong learning as well as to inspire new practices and policies.

Áine Brady, CEO Third Age who spoke at the award ceremony in Brussels recognised the contribution made by Fáilte Isteach volunteers across Ireland:

“I am thrilled to be here today to accept this Lifelong Learning Award on behalf of our team of enthusiastic, committed and passionate volunteers in Ireland without whom the Fáilte Isteach project wouldn’t have achieved such success. Each week they give freely of their time to extend the hand of friendship to others and it is great to see them receiving the applause they deserve. I am proud of the response of the Irish people to our initiative I am delighted that the programme and the benefits it is bringing to communities across Ireland are being recognised and validated at European level,” she said.

Fáilte Isteach supports local organisations and individuals across Ireland to set up and coordinate a conversational English class in their local community. All of the necessary training and teaching material is provided to establish a group and on-going support, refresher training and updated resources are made available to groups nationwide.

Ariana Ball, Fáilte Isteach Manager explains:

“We have been very fortunate to partner with so many dedicated and creative organisations and individuals across Ireland who have joined with us in promoting integration and offering practical support to migrants throughout the country.”

Fáilte Isteach is a national programme of Third Age, a voluntary organisation promoting the value of the contribution of older people and the challenges and opportunities facing older people in today’s Ireland. The project was launched nationally in 2008, and since then has established 97 groups throughout the country, providing practical support to migrants living in their community. The project is tailored to suit the needs of these migrants, and is student-focussed in its approach in order to ease the transition to living in Ireland. Topics include shopping, going to the doctor, corresponding with your child’s school, and learning about lrish culture and customs. In 2016 alone, over 64,000 hours of free English language tuition will be delivered by the programme, and each week more than 3,000 students attend the classes.

“We have seen the lasting and sustained change that Fáilte Isteach has brought already to 97 communities variously spread in urban, suburban and rural Ireland. There is enthusiasm and eagerness among our volunteers to share their skills, knowledge and expertise with the participants who attend the classes. However, perhaps more significantly there is a readiness to welcome and to include the migrant population into the community. Our experience, through the ten years of the project, is that Ireland is full of people of compassion, consideration and humanity, and our volunteers are the living embodiment of this – without them we would never have realised this wonderful Irish success story.” Áine Brady, CEO Third Age

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