This funding is intended to provide support to educationally disadvantaged learners in accessing
and participating in community education. A total of €6.85m has been allocated nationally.
The fund was first made available in 2020 and is managed by SOLAS, with over 500
Community Education Projects funded through the 16 Education and Training Boards (ETBs).
The projects funded varied from those designed to help support online learning, connect
communities and provide social support to the most disadvantaged. The Fund has a strong
focus on building the digital infrastructure of community education providers, including providing
devices and software as well as increasing their capacity to deliver online learning.
The Fund is specifically designed to tackle educational inequalities which continue to be
highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and support access to community education.
The great work done around Ireland by ETBs and community partners, enabled by the MAEDF,
tackles adult literacy issues and re-engages learners with education – and provides this support
in digital-first ways that meets the complex needs of the learners at hand.
COVID-19 highlighted significant social issues across our communities and it’s vital that these
issues do not remain with us long-term. Importantly, the MAEDF targets funding on digital
infrastructure, which is more needed than ever in post-pandemic Irish society.
Digital technologies make up 46% of the initiatives, with learning assistance accounting for 22%,
COVID-19 recovery exceptional circumstances for 17%, and outreach/mentoring for 15%.
The four categories eligible for consideration under the 2021 MAEDF are: Digital technologies –
Supply of devices where deemed to be a barrier to learning, Learner assistance fund – to help
where appropriate with costs, Out-reach and/or Mentoring – to assist with re-engagement with
learners and COVID-19 Recovery Exceptional Circumstances.
The purpose of the Fund is to assist ETBs to increase their capacity, and that of community
education providers, to address the decline in participation of disadvantaged learners
particularly those on literacy and basic skills programmes at NFQ levels 1 to 3.
The Fund places a strong focus on community education as a mechanism to continue to
support and engage with disadvantaged learners. In addition, there is a focus on enabling the
investment in building the digital infrastructure of providers and their capability to ensure that
online learning/blended learning can be delivered in a way that meets the complex needs of
A further eight requests for funding of almost €250,000, have been approved for 23 initiatives for
the Voluntary Secondary and Community and Comprehensive Schools (VSCCS).
More information on the Fund can be found online here: https://www.solas.ie/mitigating-against-
educational-disadvantage-fund-2021/ Including digital testimonials of real life projects funded by