Léargas to be part of new PEACEPLUS initiative: ASPIRE

Léargas to be part of new PEACEPLUS initiative: ASPIRE

20 June 2024

Léargas are delighted to be part of the exciting new shared education initiative, ASPIRE (Advancing Shared Partnerships through Inclusive Relationships in Education). This initiative is supported by the PEACEPLUS Programme and managed by the Special EU Programmes Body. With an impressive budget of €34 million, this project is spearheaded by the Education Authority (EA), in collaboration with Léargas, Early Years NI, Fermanagh Trust and the National Childhood Network.

ASPIRE aims to foster direct and sustained interaction among children and young people from diverse cultural, religious, and socio-economic backgrounds across schools in Northern Ireland, the border counties of Ireland, and beyond. Through a comprehensive approach encompassing educational, societal, and economic facets, the project utilises reconciliation and peace-building activities to create lasting benefits.

Funded by the EU PEACEPLUS programme, with match-funding provided by the Department of Education in both Northern Ireland and border counties of Ireland, ASPIRE is poised to make a profound impact. Over the course of its implementation until 2028/9, the project aims to engage 350+ schools and over 100,000 pupils in shared education initiatives through local partnerships, fostering cross-sectoral and cross-border collaboration. Furthermore, ASPIRE will equip educators with the necessary training to facilitate and deliver shared education, ensuring comprehensive participation and engagement.

Targeting early years, primary, and post-primary schools in Northern Ireland and the border counties, ASPIRE places a strong emphasis on sustainable, curriculum-based sharing.

Reflecting on the significance of the project, Lorraine Gilligan, Executive Director of Léargas remarked:

“We are very excited to be part of the ASPIRE project, which provides for significant opportunities to evolve educational partnerships and build relationships within and across communities.  In today’s rapidly evolving world, the skills to navigate complex challenges, to exchange and embrace diverse perspectives and to collaborate effectively are vital, not only to enhance individual capabilities but also to foster innovation, resilience, and adaptability in the face of change. In Léargas we believe that interconnectedness and collaboration are at the heart of successful projects and partnerships and support our objective to build stronger and more inclusive societies.  Nurturing these qualities through projects like ASPIRE is essential to encourage personal growth, professional, organisational and societal development”.  


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