Staying Connected While Staying Apart:

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Cork Education and Training Board (Cork ETB) launch online programme that combats lockdown isolation while teaching valuable life-long skills.

‘Staying connected while staying apart’. This is the mantra that Cork Education and Training Board (Cork ETB) are striving to instil with the help of their new online programme, Creative Steps to Wellbeing, which was launched today (Friday 12th February 2021)

With unprecedented numbers of people reporting poor mental health, loneliness, and isolation as we collectively navigate our third COVID-19 lockdown, the new programme aims to provide a positive focus by encouraging users to learn and develop fulfilling life-long skills. These skills are taught and explored through a series of workshops, which people can access in their own time and study at their own pace.

The workshops cover a variety of topics across the realms of health, wellbeing and the arts and each session will be presented in a clear, concise, and accessible format to maximise user engagement and benefit.

Speaking following the launch of the programme, Ger Canning, Adult Education Officer with Cork ETB and coordinator of the project, said: “Many people who – for a variety of reasons including but not limited to; literacy difficulties, marginalisation, disability and anxiety – would normally be able to access Cork ETB’s extensive community education services across Cork city and county, are now missing the engagement and benefits of face-to-face group contact. Through this project, we are attempting to fill this void while providing an opportunity to learn and develop within an online space.”

Echoing this sentiment at the virtual launch this morning, Lord Mayor Cllr. Joe Kavanagh said: “This new resource will be available to all community groups and their tutors. Groups and individuals can use these resources as a tool to reach out and support those who are further isolated due to the COVID-19 pandemic and may have difficulty accessing resources on their own.”

The workshops, which are delivered by professional tutors and trainers, cover the following areas: 

  • Crushing Anxiety
  • Defeating the Ego
  • Stress Reduction
  • Dealing with Grief & Loss
  • Goal Setting
  • Yoga – Building Your Immune System
  • Reflections/Meditations
  • Mindfulness
  • Art Therapies
  • Life Stories 

The resource was developed thanks to funding provided by the Mitigating Against Educational Disadvantage (MAED) fund, which was recently launched by the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science and SOLAS, the Further Education and Training Authority.

Denis Leamy, CE of Cork ETB, acknowledged the significant investment in community education in Cork as a result of the MAED scheme, which saw CETB secure almost €950,000 in grant funding, €10,000 of which was used to produce this ‘Creative Steps to Wellbeing’ programme to support staff and learners. 

“The receipt of this significant support, which is also available to the general public, will enable Cork ETB to provide a pathway to education to those who crave it most during these trying times,” Mr. Leamy commented. “We are so thankful that we can continue on our mission despite the restrictions that have stood in our way for almost a year now. ‘Creative Steps to Wellbeing’ extends an invitation to connect and draws on the talents of those who work across CETB’s services.”

‘Creative Steps to Wellbeing’ is now live and available to access on www.corketb.ie or see Cork Education and Training Board or CorkETB on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn with the hashtag #keepwell. 

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