The successes of a highly regarded programme for young people in Co. Mayo will be outlined at a special online showcase next week that will be attended by Minister of State Joe O’Brien, TD.

Over the past three years, Foundation 4 Life, which is supported by the Government’s Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP), has achieved outstanding results with 70 per cent of participants progressing onto either employment, education or training.

The programme was developed in partnership with South West Mayo Development Company (SWMDC) and the Western Region Drug and Alcohol Task Force (WRDATF), and the showcase is a key event in the annual Western Region Drug and Alcohol Awareness Week (November 16-20).

Graduates of the transformative life skills, education and job activation programme, will play a lead role in the Thursday, November 19th, showcase that will explore why the innovative programme has succeeded.

Mr O’Brien, TD, Minister of State for Community Development and Charities at the Department of Rural and Community Development, will be present to gain first-hand knowledge of the value the programme has added locally and he will also launch two publications that have studied the programme in great depth.

The programme is the brainchild of Catherine McCloskey, SICAP Youth and Community Development Worker with SWMDC; and Pat Conway, Community Liaison Worker, WRDATF.fsic

“Foundation 4 Life caters for young people not currently engaged in employment, education or training. It is enhanced by intensive mentoring and significant social supports, including contributions to childcare and travel and the provision of nutritious meals,” explained Catherine McCloskey,

“Our aim was to develop a programme that would genuinely support young people and help them realise their full potential,” said Pat.

One of the programme participants – Tony Geraghty – will join Liam Horan as joint master of ceremonies for the showcase at 7 pm on Thursday, November 19th.

“When we planned this showcase, we wanted to include participants in it because they are the ones who have come through the programme and created employment, education and training opportunities for themselves. We are delighted that Tony has agreed to be one of our masters of ceremonies, and it is a great source of pride for us that he will be joined ‘on stage’ in the virtual event by three other graduates – Tara O’Brien, Padraig Heneghan and Christina McGuinness,” said Catherine.

“The showcase will also feature contributions from Dr James O’Shea, educator, psychotherapist and author, who has published the programme guide. He has labelled it a ‘model of best practice’. Sinéad Doody, strategy consultant, who has carried out a full review of the programme, will also speak about her review findings.”

Foundation 4 Life involves a unique multi-agency approach with steering group members coming from Mayo Local Employment Service, Mayo County Council, Mayo Sports Partnership, Mayo Sligo Leitrim Education and Training Board and the Irish Association for the Social Integration of Offenders.

“The programme is further supported by numerous community, voluntary, and statutory contributions,” added Pat.

Admission to the November 19th event is free of charge and open to the public. You can secure your place by emailing It will also be broadcast on the Facebook pages of WRDATF and SWMDC.

SICAP is co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Social Fund as part of the ESF Programme for Employability Inclusion and Learning 2014-2020.

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