'Cork Life Centre is now at risk': Hundreds back petition to save 'much needed' service

'Cork Life Centre is now at risk': Hundreds back petition to save 'much needed' service

Don O'Leary, Cork Life Centre director. Picture Dan Linehan

HUNDREDS have signed a petition urging the Minister for Education to fund the “much loved, much needed” Cork Life Centre amid fears about its future.

The online petition was set up by Dr Sharon Lambert on behalf of the friends of Cork Life Centre in a bid to save the educational service.

The petition has already accumulated over 700 signatures. 

It urges the Minister for Education Norma Foley TD to speak with the Department of Education to appropriately fund the service, stating that without security for the existing staff, the Centre will not be able to continue to deliver in the way that it currently does.

According to the petition, most of the staff in the Centre are either unpaid or receive small amounts of money that is largely funded through philanthropy.

The petition states that in May 2020, the Centre was informed that it would receive the funding it needs to be sustainable.

However, it has transpired that the funding was not an income stream for the service.

Instead, the Department of Education proposed that they would transfer in surplus staff from other settings.

There is now “great uncertainty” about what will happen with existing staff, some of whom have between 12- and 15-years’ experience working in the Centre.

"The Centre is not a school, it is a unique education Centre with its own model of work, ethos and culture. Central to which is the relationship between the teachers and the young people, which has taken years to develop.

“The future of the much loved, much needed and indeed very successful educational service that is the Cork Life Centre is now at risk.”

The Cork Life Centre is a voluntary organisation that has offered an alternative learning environment to the young people of Cork for the past 21 years.

The Centre’s approach to education has been described as “a holistic one” with value placed on the social education of young people as much as on the academic.

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