Open College Network Launches £70k Grant Package for Disadvantaged NI Learners

OCN NI grants scheme will award between £500 and £3,000 to NI education/training providers

Open College Network Northern Ireland (OCN NI) has created a new Centre Learning Grants Programme worth £70k which will be open to a range of its education and training providers, including representatives from the Community and Voluntary Sector, Further Education, Private Training and Schools sectors. This is the first learner funding scheme of its kind ever launched in Northern Ireland by an awarding organisation.

The Centre Learning Grants Programme, with a closing date for applications of June 9th, was created by the OCN NI Board of Trustees to help fulfil its charitable purpose.  Particular emphasis has been given to help those who may be particularly disadvantaged and would not otherwise have had the opportunities to engage in education.

OCN NI will offer grants of between £500 and £3,000 to specific projects or activities that advance the mission and vision of OCN NI, explained Martin Flynn, CEO of OCN NI.

Martin said: “Our new grants programme provides a unique opportunity for OCN NI centres to apply for funding that will help them innovate, enhance learning and progression as well as providing additional support to learners they might otherwise not receive.

“We will be offering grants of up to £3,000 for specific projects or activities that advance the mission and vision of OCN NI in a way that provides robust evidence of how learning positively impacts on individuals, families, and communities.”

Paul Donaghy Chair of OCN NI, said: “As part of our organisations Corporate & Social Responsibility we are delighted to be in a position to ‘give back’ to learners and training providers through the development of the Grants Programme in line with the stated aims of our charitable purpose, ensuring the advancement of education for public benefit. This is a first for OCN NI and I am confident the grants will help engage, enrich and equip learners for life.”

“This is a very important milestone for the organisation, and I congratulate the Trustees of OCN NI for their vision and commitment to advancing learning opportunities across Northern Ireland.”

To apply for funding from the Centre Learning Grants Programme visit

OCN NI is a leading Awarding Body, working with Further Education Colleges, Schools, Training Organisations, Third Sector Organisations, Health Trusts, Prisons and other education and training organisations.