Why basis.point is proud to be a Fine Grain Friend

Education is the most powerful weapon we have against poverty. It influences our lives in many ways: our relationships; our identities; our happiness and health; even how long we are expected to live. It also shapes our society. Societies with higher rates of education have less crime, more opportunities and greater levels of civic involvement.

We’re fortunate to have a world-class education system here in Ireland. Our abundant, skilled workforce and universities play a key role in our economic success, helping to attract billions in overseas investment. But people can still fall through the cracks. That’s why basis.point is here: to improve the educational outcomes of kids from areas of disadvantage.

Proud to be a Fine Grain Friend

Our programming has helped more than 40,000 children engage meaningfully with education, enhancing their life chances and empowering parents to give their kids the best start in life. None of this would be possible without the support or our patrons, without whom we couldn’t have allocated over €4million (and counting) towards education.

We’re proud and immensely grateful to be a friend of Fine Grain Property, which has been supporting basis.point since 2021. Central to Fine Grain’s philosophy is the concept of the Workplace Community – building places where like-minded companies and individuals work towards shared goals, collaborate, share ideas, socialise and build brighter futures together.

Investing in a happier, healthier society

There are many parallels with our approach at basis.point. Our aim is to use education to break the cycle of poverty for people who have the least opportunities in our communities. This is not about turning everyone we help into c-suite executives or getting them to the top of the pile in society. It’s about investing in a society that’s happier and healthier.

We have a duty of care for disadvantaged people in our communities, and we all benefit from widening the opportunities they have in life. Greater diversity in terms of ethnicity, gender, age and background broadens our thinking, challenges us to look at the world differently and helps eliminate group thinking. Ultimately, this builds a society that’s fairer and more resilient.

Inspiring the next generation

Examples of how we’re doing this abound. Take Teen Turn, a charity we have partnered with that aims to combat stereotypes by changing how teenaged girls, including those from marginalised groups, view careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) disciplines that have historically attracted far fewer women than men.

We’ve been able to unlock funding to work with schools to identify teens from underserved communities who show academic promise and inspire them about following a career in the STEM subjects. We’ve helped establish an army of volunteer mentors, including alumni from universities who were part of the initial Teen-Turn intake, who work one-on-one with girls. They really are an army on the march!

Developing numeracy and literacy in pre-school kids

The Early Learning Initiative is another project that we are proud to be working on. We are supporting pre-school age kids from families where perhaps mum and dad were early school leavers and aren’t equipped to navigate the school system and help develop numeracy, literacy and a joy for learning in their little ones.

The communities we are working with in Dublin and Limerick are really embracing it. Ireland is becoming a much more multicultural place and this project is helping these people integrate and engage with the education system. We support teams of highly skilled Home Visitors coming together and running things like toddler groups and helping people develop parent skills and preparing their kids for starting school.

Helping those who fall through the gaps

We’re also helping kids who struggle with formal education by working with Foroige, a national charity that touches the lives of 50,000 kids a year through outreach programmes and youth clubs. Many of these kids have behavioural difficulties or have fallen through the gaps of our formal education system. But by working with them, we are helping build skills that will be invaluable to them in later life.

Often this is unbeknownst to them. We’ve been running workshops in which they’ve been doing things like coming up with new popcorn flavours or making bath bombs and drawing up business plans; they’ve been learning podcast and music production and editing and a whole host of new skills that might not have been open to them after falling out of formal education.

Levelling the playing field

Young women who find themselves pregnant can also fall through the gaps in our educational system. A new project we’ve recently begun working on with Barnardo’s aims to support these teenagers during their pregnancies and beyond so that doors do not shut on them because of their circumstances.

These are all great examples of how we’re trying to build a more inclusive society and level the playing field here in Ireland. Doing so isn’t just the right thing to do from the personal point of view of the people we help; it benefits society as a whole and builds a stronger community and brighter futures for us all. In this way, the aims of basis.point and Fine Grain are entwined. I hope we continue to work together for many years to come.

Edel O’Malley is CEO of basis.point. To support the charity, email eomalley@basispoint.ie.

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