Meet the New Training Links Networks

Posted on
28 Oct 2021
by The Wheel

We are delighted to announce the results of Training Links 2021-2023. This year 31 networks applied for a share of the €315,000 fund. Applications came from all across the nonprofit sector, covering many areas of work.   

Two expert external assessors engaged in a careful and robust selection process determining the results of this year’s programme. It was decided that 11 Training Networks were successful and would receive grant funding. The value of the grants increased since last year, so this time we awarded grants of up to €50,000.00.   

There is a wonderful variety of work being addressed by the Training Networks. 90% of them operate across Ireland. Each occupies a different part of the nonprofit sector. For more information about each Training Network and their members visit our website here 

Training Links allows workers of the nonprofit community to upskill, reskill and take part in training programmes that will improve their job performance and the quality of the services they provide to their participants and community. Let’s take a look at the plans of three Training Networks.

National Meals on Wheels Learning Network 

The National Meals on Wheels Learning Network is made up of 38 organisations. The service is increasingly valued by clients and policy makers. The CSO projects an 82% increase in the number of people over 65 by 2036 in Ireland. With the pandemic, there has been a four-fold increase in the number of meals delivered to people’s homes in the last year. It is easy to understand how vital a service this is and will continue to be. 

With the grant funding they have received, they plan to develop and deliver a pilot 30-hour community education programme for volunteers in collaboration with Maynooth University. It will broadly cover: 

  • Theory of volunteerism  

  • Volunteering and Self Development  

  • Aging at home in Modern Ireland  

  • Social Enterprise Development and Transition  

  • Educational Marketing and Fundraising for the not-for-profit sector 

Safe Ireland 

The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in domestic violence being named as a national priority by the Irish Government. Safe Ireland responds to the evolving complex needs of women and children in the area of domestic abuse and coercive control. This network is made up of 34 organisations. 

Working in these areas requires specialist training. The skills of workers need to be refreshed. There also needs to be professional development opportunities available for staff. Safe Ireland have identified a whole range of training areas in which their members would like to upskill. They fit broadly in the area of being trauma informed and trauma responsive. This fund will enable Safe Ireland to design and deliver training that is urgently needed.

Open Training Network 

This network is for the cooperative and community-led local food sector. It is made up of 17 organisations. Network members are all engaged in regenerative, community-led and cooperative food systems which support a green, circular and locally centered economy. This sector has grown considerably in recent years in terms of overall scale, public awareness and social impact. 

They have identified the need to develop skills in core areas such as Leadership, Governance and Management and Operations. There is also a demand for skills related to digital transformation as well as enhanced capacity needed in communications between management, staff and volunteers as well as to wider stakeholders.


This is just a sample of the Training Networks currently being funded. We look forward to tracking the progress of all 11 Training Networks over the next 18 months as they embark on their training and development journey. These Training Networks are made up of 200 organisations, and thousands of workers across these organisations will receive training as a result of the programme. We can't wait to share their stories.