Kilcooley Women Center, Northern Ireland, UK (applicant)

contact: Alison Blayney :

Kilcooley Women’s Centre HQ & Rural Development Office
The Grace Centre

Unit 65 North Down Development Organisation

2-4 Balloo Avenue

Bangor BT19 7QT

Kilcooley Women’s Centre (KWC) was established in 1995, founded by volunteers with the ethos of social inclusion, helping disadvantaged groups, & promote community empowerment through lifelong learning. Employing 23 staff, 10 volunteers KWC annually supports over 1000 learners, working primarily with women, children & families to help improve their life chances & deliver high level outcomes, KWC adopts OBA (outcomes based accountability)methodology in project design & implementation enabling the organisation to demonstrate changes made by projects, and impact project activity has had on beneficiaries particularly in tackling disadvantage, assisting disadvantaged groups, improving access to digital skills & promoting inclusion. KWC is a registered charity & company limited by guarantee, & is classified as a not for profit organisation. It operates multi strand delivery/operational model, working in fields of training, education & employability, youth empowerment, inclusion in working life, childcare/early years, positive mental health/physical wellbeing, improved skills & employment opportunities for young people, inclusion for older people & support for active ageing/ageing well. The organisation promotes community relations, peace building (after NI Conflict) positive inter-relationships to help address long term unemployment, programmes to address wide spread economic inactivity in disadvantaged groups & improve educational attainment. KWC actively promotes positive proactive engagement with young people ‘not in education, employment or training’ (NEET), using bespoke nurturing & mentoring to support/assist young people, (who are furthest from labour market) establish continuous personal & professional planning to set goals, improve long term outcomes & lift aspirations, . A strong focus is placed on providing a wrap around, holistic support service to participants/beneficiaries with indirect support to the wider family unit provided through empowerment programmes, signposting to services/family support through our Family Support Hub. Recognising the value EU co- operation/sharing of good practice, KWC has been involved in EU transnational mobility programmes for many years, providing access to Erasmus+ activity, providing an international dimension for disadvantaged groups who have less opportunities to engage (e.g. Youth). For many, it was their first trip outside of Northern Ireland. KWC continues to build on the previous transnational achievements & European programmes in the field of training,education & youth, promoting synergies & cross fertilisation across different fields of education, removing barriers to engagement (e.g. childcare), foster new ideas, new & innovative forms of co-operation & sharing of practice, develop strategic and dynamic, diverse partnerships with participants from different career paths, communities, uniting civic society. KWC promotes the 'brand' of Erasmus+ regionally, to recognise & disseminate the impact Erasmus+ & has on civic society.

KWC current strategy linked to Europe 2020:

  • Fighting high of youth unemployment/economic inactivity, developing social capital, assist entry/re- entry to labour market
  • Social integration, tolerance, acceptance of diversity & inclusion (e.g. migrants, roma, other disadvantaged groups), community cohesion
  • Civic participation, personal fulfilment
  • Formal, non formal and informal learning opportunities
  • Supporting early school leavers, including School Age Mothers
  • Upskilling improving competencies of low skilled participants, including those who had a negative impact on their education/skills because of conflict (Agenda for skills/jobs)
  • Nurture talent, improve access to ICT & e-Skills
  • Promote competitive social economy opportunities, embrace technology, talent, innovation & competitive approaches
  • Participation in civic society/public life, promoting belonging for all citizens & young people with fewer opportunities