Springhill Community House has been a pioneer of community education in West Belfast since 1972.
Established by Fr Desmond Wilson the project is about helping people see their own potential.
From its inception, the purpose of the ‘People’s School’, has and will continue to be about empowering people to take control of their own lives. This remains at the heart of what Springhill is about and involves tackling the apathy and frustration felt by individuals through programmes of personal development, life coaching, education, training, health awareness and confidence building.
Our primary aim is to target and recruit the most disadvantaged individuals within our community and to support them improve their quality of life and wellbeing.
Through participation in our programmes individuals will enhance their quality of life and their contribution to community self-awareness, helping it to meet the new challenges and opportunities which lie ahead. Beneficiaries will gain widely recognised qualifications as well as soft outcomes which will increase self-esteem, enabling them to break the cycle of dependency and negativity so that they can see a more positive future for themselves.
Beneficiaries will be recruited from West Belfast overall but predominantly the Upper Springfield/ Whiterock areas. We aim to target those most disadvantaged, those who find it difficult to step beyond their own front door.
Our experience shows that many of our target population have little or no qualifications on leaving school and that mainstream schooling has been a negative experience for them. This negative experience taints their view of mainstream educational providers and acts as a barrier for them returning to education.
Our project aims to overcome these barriers by providing education, training and health awareness in a relaxed and informal environment that puts participants at their ease and creates a positive learning experience, we act as a stepping stone for participants and place particular emphasis on assisting them to progress to other service providers.
SCH has continued to build on the early ethos of free learning and provides a wide spectrum of courses:
Accredited and non-accredited courses: Beneficiaries have gained widely recognised qualifications as well as soft outcomes which have increased self-esteem, enabling them to break the cycle of dependency and negativity so that they can see a more positive future for themselves.
Beginners Maths and English for parents unfamiliar with new approaches and who had problems helping children with homework. GCSE English and Maths remain the most popular of the accredited courses and have been delivered by SCH from 1978 to the present day. The provision of these courses will continue to be offered based on local demand.
Life Coaching: SCH delivers self-confidence/life coaching programmes. Many individuals are not ready to undertake academic qualifications so as a first step SCH provides self-confidence programmes using qualified life coaches.
New Direction is a person-centred programme seeking to inspire, motivate and challenge those taking part. The programmes are designed to create alternative ways of viewing one’s self and the world around them.
Participants gain effective communication skills, skills in challenging their reactions to difficult situations, develop an awareness of alternative lifestyle choices and promote positive life coping skills. The life coaching programmes have been delivered in local primary and secondary schools as well as youth clubs.