Picture: Richard Lynch with LCETB Facilitator Mary Flannery, Veronica Hanley and Margaret Tydings, Karen Fitzgibbon and Veronica Hanley. Picture: Billy Butler.
By I Love Limerick Correspondent Michelle Hogan
The purpose of St Saviours Community Group is to give people an outlet in the community Sand they have delved into further education with the help of the Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board (LCETB).
Speaking to Veronica Hanley and Margaret Tydings who are both members of St Saviours they explain; “We are all around fifty years of age and up and it started with an idea for a few tutorial groups the LCETB asked us if we wanted to do back to education courses, focusing on the arts and we chose drama, art, and a women’s group.”
There are currently around 15 members of the drama group and seven members of the art group, six women and one man. The 12 member women’s group started off with a tutor who talked about different things like stress management and the group held their own women’s day event.
All groups meet up on a weekly basis; “we have our new hall on Edward Street, the council give us the hall at the moment because they are knocking our old premises which were down by the railway station.” All members of the groups run the classes and events together on a volunteer basis.
LCETB Facilitator Mary Flannery tells me; “In some cases the communities will approach the ETB, I work in the community education programme and community education is about getting learning out into local communities, facilitating local communities to take ownership of that learning and to see that learning can happen in communities, it doesn’t have to be in institutions. St. Saviours are a remarkable group because they are all volunteers, there are no paid development workers with them and yet their commitment to keeping classes going not just for themselves but for people in a wider community really is an example for all of Limerick. The art is only the start because they started drama five or six years ago but look at them now. These things are at the fabric of society, especially Limerick society.”
This year the group have taken on to do a certified qualification a QQI or FETAC qualification in drama that is being taught by theatre practitioner Karen Fitzgibbon. The group members added: “Karen just gives all her time to us, she is an amazing person; you are never too old to learn.”
It is clear for this group that delving into community education has worked wonders for both the individual development and the community dynamic, which is so important to the people of Limerick. Congrats to all involved!