Philanthropy In Action: Intercultural Language Service supported by the Engage and Educate Fund at Social Innovation Fund Ireland

Intercultural Language Service was set up by Dr Peter Sheekey. In Dublin, Dr Sheekey identified over 100,000 people who did not have the recommended level of English to survive in Irish society. It’s likely that they also lacked the knowledge or access to Irish social systems, to community networks and to education and training. On top of everything, many work in rostered work and simply don’t have time to learn English or access to mainstream providers of education. Ireland needed a free drop-in English language service, which also helped learners with real-world needs. Dr Peter Sheekey set up ILS to empower and equip adult migrants and refugees with a suite of skills that are necessary to survive here in Ireland.

About Engage & Educate:

The Engage and Educate Fund is focused on projects that empower people through education to positively impact their wider communities. The €450,000 Awards Fund is a three-year commitment between Social Innovation Fund Ireland, Mason Hayes & Curran, Solicitors, and the Department of Rural and Community Development via the Dormant Accounts Fund.

The difference between the project is making to the community// Impact of the project: Winning the Engage & Educate Award was a shot in the arm for ILS. Not only did it ensure their survival, but it also fostered the real prospect of growth and expansion. Dr Sheekey said that ‘It gave us the confidence to strengthen and expand our existing services in our Ballybough centre itself. It enabled us to start replicating our service by opening up a new drop-in centre in Dublin 8; an area of the city badly in need of language and integration provision. Under Social Innovation Fund Ireland’s guidance, we went from being a small,community-based outfit to being an established NGO with a strong identity and road map.”

Future plans for the project:

ILS is just scratching the surface in terms of reaching those most in need of their services.

Their plan is to form further partnerships with local authorities and private companies, with an eye to opening centres in other areas of need, such as in Fingal and the Dun-Laoghaire- Rathdown area.