Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth and Dublin West TD, Roderic O’Gorman has welcomed the announcement that €80,000 in funding will go towards the establishment of a permanent Creative Ability Training Academy in Blanchardstown Library.

The project has been offered funding under the Disability Participation and Awareness Fund 2021, which will see a total of €2.5 million offered to 39 successful projects nationwide to promote community participation and integration for people with disabilities, and raise awareness around UNCRPD. The Fund is provided by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth.

The Creative Ability Training Academy will build on the current collaboration between Fingal County Council and Not So Different to establish Ireland’s first Neurodiversity Creative Ability Hub. The project aims to promote equality and inclusion of people with disabilities and their families in the community, and improve education and employment outcomes for people with disabilities. The Academy will provide a creative and innovative space where people with disabilities can demonstrate their creative ability and showcase their creative talents to prospective employers and educators.

The Training Academy will provide direct access to the Creative Arts, Media and Film Production Industries, to potential educators and employers and to community organisations and service providers in a safe, sensory friendly environment.

Welcoming the funding, Minister O’Gorman said:

“I am delighted that Not So Different have been awarded funding for the Creative Ability Training Academy. The Academy will help to break down the barriers many people with disabilities face when accessing education, employment and the creative arts. The Not So Different Creative Ability Hub has been brilliant in helping industry, employers, education institutions and our community to become more inclusive, and this project will further increase awareness, understanding and acceptance of disabilities including neurodiversity.

I am excited to see this project continue to support individuals in harnessing their creative skills, exploring their career opportunities in the creative arts and media, and realising their full potential and the extent of their talents in an environment which supports their individual abilities.

It is fantastic to see the Disability Participation and Awareness Fund, which comes from my Department, being used to support such an innovative project here in Dublin West”.