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Sparkle Project, Dundalk – Developing new personal and creative skills

Published on:  21 Jul 2014

On Friday (11th July), local residents and community representatives joined together to recognise the achievements of participants in the Sparkle Project run by Louth Leader Partnership. Funded by the International Fund for Ireland, the project works to help women from Cox’s Demesne and Muirhevnamor in Dundalk develop new personal and creative skills through a twelve-week course focusing on personal development.


The project includes sessions on life coaching, IT training, photography, communications skills, stress management and team-building as well as arts and crafts modules, such as dressmaking and sewing. A cross-border workshop was also held in conjunction with The Vine Centre in Belfast looking at issues affecting women from both communities.

The Sparkle project is funded under the International Fund for Ireland’s Peace Impact Programme, which aims to build sustainable peace and prosperity in areas suffering from high levels of economic and social deprivation. Under this programme, the International Fund for Ireland is providing €163,330 to Louth Leader Partnership to support a range of four projects that will work to promote economic prosperity and build greater cohesion within the local communities.

The target projects focus on young people, families, training and education and include elements designed to encourage participants to up-skill and increase learning, qualifications and employment opportunities.

Four Louth Leader projects funded by International Fund for Ireland:

  1. Family Development Programme
  2. Women & Violence – Support Plan
  3. Integrated Pre-School/Primary School Support Programme
  4. Strengthening Families Programme

Speaking at the event, David Graham, Board Member of the International Fund for Ireland stated that the Fund is committed to delivering real and positive transformation in communities through its Peace Impact Programme. He stated: “We are proud to be associated with the Sparkle Project and the important work being done by Louth Leader Partnership to create new opportunities for people living in communities such as Cox’s Demesne and Muirhevnamor. We believe this project will have a lasting impact by promoting social stability and prosperity by empowering participants with the skills needed to contribute toward building a better future for their communities.”

Mr Graham also expressed a collective thanks to the international donors who have supported the work of the International Fund for Ireland for more than twenty-five years – the United States of America, the European Union, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Acknowledging the generous support received from the International Fund for Ireland, Mary Ann McGlynn, CEO, Louth Leader Partnership said: “The success of the Sparkle Project in providing women from Cox’s Demesne and Muirhevnamor with new personal and creative skills has exceeded our expectations. The project has given participants the confidence and tools to engage more actively in their local communities, helping to grow self-esteem and promote leadership capacity among those involved. Through the training provided, the project has created new opportunities that will lead to an improvement in quality of life, for both the women involved and their communities.

“We hope to use our own Local & Community Development Programme funding to continue to work with the women who are receiving certificates today, and to help them to map out new directions for themselves and their children, as well as further developing the skills they have learned with the assistance of the IFI funding.”

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