Centre Learning Grants


Open College Network NI (OCN) plans to award another £85K to education, voluntary and charitable training providers locally via their Centre Learning Grants Programme, now in its third year.

The Centre Learning Grants Programme, with a closing date for applications of Thursday 30th May 2024, was created by the OCN Board of Trustees to help fulfil its charitable objectives.   At its core, the Grants Programme is designed to encourage innovation, enhance learning experiences, and facilitate progression for learners. By supporting innovative approaches and initiatives, OCN strives to create a conducive environment where learners can thrive and achieve their full potential.

This is the first learner funding scheme of its kind in Northern Ireland created by an awarding organisation, explained Martin Flynn, CEO, of OCN.

“This is the third year of our Centre Learning Grants Programme and if the previous two years are anything to go by, we are expecting another huge response from our very deserving centres. The grants programme provides a unique opportunity for education, voluntary and charitable training providers to apply for much needed additional funding that will help them to innovate and enhance their current offering to help learners achieve their full potential.

“We will be awarding grants of up to £3 000 for specific projects or activities that advance the mission and vision of OCN in a way that provides robust evidence of how learning positively impacts individuals, families and communities.”

OCN made a total of £93,819 available to centres and funded 33 projects across NI in 2023. Successful applicants include the NOW Group, FLEX Language Services, Reach Across, The Advantage Foundation and the Marion Centre of Excellence, all of whom received a total of £3,000.

Speaking at the Stormont launch of this year’s grants programme Sorcha Eastwood MLA said: “It was extremely inspiring to hear first-hand from previous grant recipients of the positive impact these awards have created.  Even relatively small grant awards can have a dramatic impact on the lives of learners when they are targeted and used at the point of most need.  I would like to commend the board of OCN for having the vision to come up with such a programme and the expertise to see it delivered in such an impactful way.” 

Paul Donaghy Chair of OCN, said: “OCN is once again delighted to be in a position to ‘give back’ to learners and training providers through our Centre Learning Grants Programme.  Being able to fund and deliver this programme for another year underscores our commitment to fulfilling our charitable purpose, which revolves around the advancement of education for the public benefit.

“Over the last two years we have seen the positive impact from the programme to help engage, enrich and equip learners for life, so I would encourage centres to apply as soon as possible for the 2024 grants scheme.”

To apply for funding from the Centre Learning Grants Programme visit https://ocnni-centre-learning-grants.grantplatform.com/. The closing date for applications is 11pm Thursday 30th May 2024.  

We have produced this helpful Centre Learning Grants Guide which may prove helpful when considering your application.

Advanced Education • Awarding Qualifications

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