Cork Education and Training Board launched their new online programme, ‘Creative Steps to Wellbeing’, a selection of videos devised and compiled by Cork ETB to help us all in some way during the pandemic.
The new online programme aims to provide a positive focus by encouraging users to learn and develop fulfilling life-long skills taught and explored through a series of workshops which people can access in their own time and study at their own pace.
The workshops cover a variety of topics across the realms of health, wellbeing and the arts.
According to Ballyduff/Fermoy local, Adult Education Officer with Cork ETB and coordinator of the project Ger Canning, mental wellbeing is a skill that ‘everybody can learn and benefit from’.
“When funding came down, we were all busy working with groups and organisations to see what they might need and what would benefit them and we thought we might do something to give people a bit of a boost.
“I’m a big believer in the arts and in what the arts can do to help people and improve their wellbeing,” Ger told The Avondhu.
The resource was developed thanks to funding provided by the Mitigating Against Educational Disadvantage (MAED) fund, which was recently launched by the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science and SOLAS, the Further Education and Training Authority.
The workshops which are delivered by professional tutors and trainers cover areas such as: Crushing Anxiety, Defeating the Ego, Stress Reduction, Dealing with Grief & Loss, Goal Setting, Yoga – Building Your Immune System, Reflections/Meditations, Mindfulness, Art Therapies and Life Stories.
Fr Stephen Cummins, a priest of the Diocese of Cloyne is among the contributors of the ‘Finding the Balance’ series in which four reflective pieces are delivered.
“Many people who – for a variety of reasons including but not limited to literacy difficulties, marginalisation, disability and anxiety – would normally be able to access Cork ETB’s extensive community education services across Cork city and county, are now missing the engagement and benefits of face-to-face group contact,” Ger said, adding that through this project, Cork ETB are attempting to fill this void while providing an opportunity to learn and develop within an online space.
“For many people who live alone, they may be feeling a sense of disconnect at the moment and this can help people to connect, even well after the pandemic. These workshops will be there to use, they won’t just vanish and people have access to them at the click of a button,” Ger added.
Denis Leamy, CE of Cork ETB, acknowledged the significant investment in community education in Cork as a result of the MAED scheme, which saw CETB secure almost €950,000 in grant funding, €10,000 of which was used to produce this ‘Creative Steps to Wellbeing’ programme to support staff and learners.
The Mitigating Against Educational Disadvantage (MAED) Fund 2020, provides supports to enable learners to engage with education and training programmes and address some of the impediments impacting on engagement and continued programme participation arising from the current pandemic situation.
The receipt of this significant support, which is also available to the general public, will enable Cork ETB to provide a pathway to education to those who crave it most during these trying times.
“We are so thankful that we can continue on our mission despite the restrictions that have stood in our way for almost a year now. ‘Creative Steps to Wellbeing’ extends an invitation to connect and draws on the talents of those who work across CETB’s services,” Mr Leamy said.
‘Creative Steps to Wellbeing’ is now live and available to access on www.corketb.ie or see Cork Education and Training Board or CorkETB on social media with the hashtag #keepwell.