b'LEARNING HUB LIMERICKHERE, JAMES BLAKE, CEO OF LEARNING HUB LIMERICK,literacy. Parents and adults from the community engage in our kickboxing and EXPLAINS WHAT MAKES THE HUB SO SPECIAL.boxing clubs which boast a 50/50 male female participation. The Learning Hub Kickboxing Club has even produced several regional, national and European LEARNING HUB LIMERICK: BREAKING THE CYCLE Champions.The Learning Hub is in one of the most disadvantaged districts in Ireland. Children are invited to try as many activities as possible. Many of theSocio-economicdisadvantagehasanegativeimpactonhealth,accessto children attend more than one of the activities oered. The integrated nature of opportunity,socialmobilityandevenlife-expectancy.TheLearningHub our programs connects the work we do with young people to real life. The Art focuses on education to break the cycle of intergenerational unemployment and Hub students designed the community garden which is used by the Science Hub underachievement. In partnership with local schools, community groups andfor plant biology classes. The fruit and vegetables in the garden form the basic in-third-levelinstitutionsweprovidein-schoolandafter-schooleducational gredients for our healthy eating programs as an essential part of the Health Hub.programstohelpraiseaspirationsandoerfurtheropportunitiestoyoung Depending on the time of year, children at the Hub may be picking apples people and their families. We have created a child-centered, safe, dynamic, in the orchard, training for a kickboxing tournament, recording a song they have happy and informal learning environment in which children are encouraged to bewritten, spinning honey from our beehive, harvesting vegetables or studying the inquisitive and to explore education. We adapted the services we provided as thecreation of carbon. In between activities, our campus is used by young people as needs of the community evolved.a safe place to play and just hang out.Todealwithdemandfordiverseclasses,wecollaboratedwiththird-SUPPORT FROM THE IRELAND FUNDSlevel partners, teaming undergraduates from local universities with primary andsecondary children in projects directly related to third level courses. This modelThe Ireland Funds has been a tremendous supporter of the Learning Hub. Since grew and the Hub now takes between 15 and 20 third-level students a year on 2018,a series of grants have boosted all of our activities. This support has helped sixmonthplacement(internships)toworkdirectlywithchildreninthe the Learning Hub to meet the increasing demand for the services we provide. community enabling us to deal with increasing demand for our services. TheSupport from The Ireland Funds gives us the freedom to channel energy and third-level students share their learning, are positive role-models and sign-postfunding to where it is most needed which includes new initiatives. It empowers routes to further education for our young people.the Hub to innovate to meet the needs of the community. This support can be leveraged with existing and potential funders and underscores the value of these SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE AT THE HUB initiatives and innovations.Children from as young as four years of age to late teens engage weekly with It is impossible to stress enough the value of The Ireland Funds support in a after-school and in-school programs in Science, Health and Fitness, Art and time of crisis. During the COVID-19 pandemic, support from The Ireland Funds Music. Seasonal and annual events such as Easter, Summer and Halloween Campshelped us to deliver digital learning content and to make deliveries of learning incorporate digital engagement as well as drama, lm-making and song-writ- packs to the community under lockdown. This extraordinary funding aorded us ing. Underlying every activity is a focus on building condence, numeracy and the freedom to direct funds where they were most needed as these needs arose, however unforeseen those needs were.MUSICSCIENCEENVIRONMENTCHALLENGESARTHEALTH COMMUNITYNURTUREconnect 202042'