May 27, 2024

Community Corner: Citywise Education

The principal objective of Citywise Education is ‘the advancement of education among children and young people with a special emphasis on those suffering social or economic disadvantage.’ This is distilled into our vision “improving communities through youth education’.
We have three primary pillars of activity: Clubs and Leadership, STEAMsquare and Fast Track Academy.

Clubs and Leadership: These activities provide useful pastimes for young people, which in time may develop into career interests. These activities include canoeing, cookery, dance, hiking, football, music, arts and crafts, and general sports skills and youth leadership. In their own right, they serve to develop the social skills of participants while also providing an opportunity for personal development. However, most importantly these programmes crucially engage individuals from an early age, meaning that young people want to come to Citywise and begin to engage with their own education.  

STEAMSquare: In response to the real need to encourage young people to engage with STEAM (Science, Technology, Arts, Engineering and Maths) subjects, Citywise developed a state-of-the-art centre where we deliver programmes such as computer coding, robotics and 3D printing. These programmes increase the skill levels of young participants with regards to STEAM competencies but also soft skills such as critical thinking, collaboration and communication. Similarly, these programmes are increasing the aspirations of young people from the disadvantaged area we serve, promoting STEAM as a tangible, real career option for our young people.

Fast Track Academy: Fast Track Academy offers education and personal support to young people from under-served communities from primary school to third level education. This includes additional academic classes, study support, mentorship and workshops. This programme is targeted at young people aged 14 – 21 from the local community we serve, a community with notoriously low access to further education and meaningful career opportunities. This support sees 90% of our final year FTA students progressing to third level education, in an area where less than 5% of the population hold a degree.

As we engage with over 500 young people weekly in the community of West Tallaght, we believe it is important to provide all of our programme participants with hot snacks and a drink to tackle the issue of food poverty in our community. From a report published in 2021 by The Childhood Development Initiative focusing on 'Child Poverty in Tallaght' it stated that 7.7% (92,000) of under 18 year-olds were experiencing consistent poverty in Ireland, 15.9% (200,000) were at risk at poverty and 19.7% (250,000) were experiencing material deprivation. The report also found that food poverty in Tallaght was a significant issue amongst families. The support we have received from FoodCloud to tackle this issue has been transformative for our organisation and the wider community. Thanks to the donations from local retailers, we have been able to make use of the food donations to offer regular snacks to our afterschool programme participants. This is something which was not possible before this partnership with FoodCloud. We have also been able to set up an area in our café to offer free food for children to take home with them as well as their parents, wider families and for our volunteers. Each week the FoodCloud corner in our café offers essential foods such as cereal, bread, and many other household necessities to support the families of the young people we support. Our partnership with FoodCloud is instrumental in our efforts to tackle food poverty in our communities and this service has been a terrific initiative to support the work of our programmes in Citywise.

We would like to say a massive thank you to all at FoodCloud for their much appreciated support towards our organisation and its work. We look forward to continuing this initiative into the future to support over 500 young people weekly in the community of West Tallaght.
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