Soilse, (Gaelic for ‘light’) was established in 1992 as a drug rehabilitation programme using adult educational methodologies to secure social inclusion for addicts. Soilse is based in Dublin’s North Inner City which arguably has the highest level of heroin use in Europe. Soilse has two facilities, one which stabilises active drug abusers and prepares them for detox and a second for social insertion. They work with approximately 150-200 people per year, all who have endured prolonged drug dependency and social marginalisation. Soilse has a Service Users Charter and has service users involved with the organisation at all levels.
Soilse offers holistic training assessing the personal and educational needs of the individual, e.g. an adult educational programme to develop personal and social learning competencies and individual capital. Soilse is both operationally and financially governed by and accountable to the HSE, Irelands National Health Service. This has its own internal management structure of which Soilse is a part.
Soilse was validated by FETAC, the Irish National Education Accreditation Body, in 2006 as a quality assured service provider. Their expertise in the field of adult education has been recognised through the Dublin and region STAR award from Aontas for both innovation in practice and teamwork in adult education (2008); the Dublin Regional STAR Award for Career Guidance Service (2010) and the STAR Award for its Service User Involvement initiative (2011) from Aontas. In 2009, Soilse’s Return to Learning project, which supports recovering drug users in their progression to further education, finished third nationally in the EBS/NALA Adult Continuing Education (ACE) Awards.
The work of Soilse has been the subject of a number of evaluation reports:
- Harrison, F. and McCormack D (1994). The Soilse Project Evaluation, Centre for Adult and Community Education, St Patrick's College, Maynooth.
- Harrison, F. (1996). Report on the Development of a Career Guidance Counselling Service in the Soilse Project. Centre for Adult and Community Education, St Patrick's College, Maynooth.
- Donoghue B (2000). Hyper: A report on the pilot phase of the project. Dublin: Soilse.
- Morgan, M (2000). Evaluation of the Soilse/Rutland Partnership, National Drug Strategy Team.
- Finlay (2003). ‘No Drug Can Do That’ – An Evaluation of 5 Health Providers use of the Arts. Dublin EHB.
- FETAC Evaluation Report (2007).