The Limerick Community Education Network (LCEN) launched its Strategic Plan 2022 – 2025 in Istabraq Hall; with the Mayor of Limerick City and County formally opening the
event and launching the new plan.
The LCEN is a network of community education providers in Limerick City. It represents 15 organisations and 3000 adults across the city; and works collectively in supporting and promoting Community Adult Education. Community education is education ‘for the
community within the community’. It takes place outside the formal education sector and aims to enhance learning, foster empowerment, and contribute to civic society.
The LCEN held their event to celebrate the AONTAS Adult Learner’s Festival, which is a
nationwide celebration of adult learning. The LCEN will be 30 years in existence next year, and the strategic priorities in its new plan will enable it to continue to support and promote community education.
Speaking at the launch, the Mayor of Limerick City and County, Councillor Daniel Butler, said: “The LCEN through its membership has played a significant role in supporting learners in local communities throughout COVID in terms of maintaining contact and supporting digital inclusion.
The LCEN has also helped learners in feeling safe in returning to classes.
Community education classes are varied and accessible to all adults across Limerick, and most importantly available in their own communities. At the heart of the LCEN are the people in Limerick communities who continue to engage and attend community education classes. Indeed, these learners, along with the Community Education tutors, partners and supporters have all been involved in shaping this new Strategic Plan.”
Represent 15 organisations and 3000 adults in Limerick City.
Work collectively in the provision of Community Adult Education.
Share information, knowledge and resources and explore and share good practice within Community Education.
Support members in the provision of Quality Assured Community Education
Work in collaboration with local, regional and national organisations to advocate for Community Education
LCEN What We Do
LCEN will provide a forum for those committed to Adult Community Education values by working together to share resources and good practice, avoiding duplication and raising awareness of the value of Adult Community Education. It will ensure that community education is resourced, valued and understood and that the highest standards for learners are
maintained at all times
Vision: Our vision is that all adults, including those experiencing social and economic exclusion, have access to quality learning opportunities in their own community.
Celebrated their 25th Anniversary in 2019 and continue to work together to provide quality education to learners in communities across the city
7 Community Groups have re-engaged with QQI as Outreach Centres of Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board
Published Research into the Social Value of Community education in collaboration with LCETB.
Membership of Aontas Community Education Network(CEN) and CEN steering group member.
Sustained funding for Development Worker through Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board.
Annual participants in Aontas and Lmerick Lifelong Learning Festivals.
Highlighting adult learner achievements through initiatives e.g. Production of Tackies, Rushers and Peggy’s leg booklet of childhood stories by adult learner.
Winners of Aontas STAR award in 2012 in recognition of the positive contribution LCEN has made to local community and society.
Winners of Best Performance entry in St. Patricks Day Parade
Involved in a number of city wide events including Music Cafe, Culture Night and Art and Craft exhibition " Journeys"
Community Education is adult learning and social development in local communities. It is inclusive, locally-based, affordable, and is developed with communities in response to their needs and is aimed at improving educational opportunities and quality of life.
The model of community education that has evolved in Limerick City over the past 15 years can be described as a broad based, bottom-up, co-production model. Co-production is a process where professionals and citizens contribute their skills and expertise to service development. In doing so, it seeks to ensure that services are built on citizens’ strengths and respond effectively to their needs. Co-production moves beyond traditional forms of consultation towards active partnership and acknowledges “the expert by experience working alongside the expert by profession”15.
The model adopted in Limerick City has, since 2012, been informed by the Department of Education and Skills’ Operational Guidelines for Providers. These set out the definition and scope of Community Education and provide broad direction for its management and delivery. The Guidelines emphasise that community education enables civil society to play a key role in education, with local groups taking responsibility for organising courses, deciding on programme content and delivering tuition.
The Limerick City model of Community Education is multilayered, with interconnecting structures and processes across multiple stakeholders. This leads to highly collaborative, inclusive and community-led provision. Some important features are listed below.
Partnership (through co-production)
Limerick Community Education Network has been instrumental in the development of Limerick Learning Neighbourhoods
The LCEN were part of a contingency group that went to Cork to view the model of learning neighbourhoods. Cork city were very successful in developing a learning neighbourhoods model. The foundation of this concept occurred with a pilot project between the Cork City Learning Coordinator and UCC.
What is a Learning Neighbourhood ?
A learning Neighbourhood is enriched by the community concept, it values and promotes the idea of life long learning at any age or stage of life. Its an ongoing commitment to all types of learning both informal and formal. The commitment of all involved is to create a range of diverse learning opportunities. Groups, residents, clubs and business in a local neighbourhood can link together to find new locations or new audiences for the knowledge they wish to share.
How it is done.
Local Learning Neighbourhoods projects are led by neighbourhoods and community groups and they celebrate what is good in their area.
The Limerick Model of Learning Neighbourhoods is driven by the engine of local community pride of the four neighbourhoods.
Southside Learning Neighbourhood
St Mary's Learning Neighbourhood
City Centre Learning Neighbourhood
Reach out North Learning Neighbourhood
The Launch of Limerick Learning Neighbourhoods took place in the Abundant Life building on the 10th of April 2019
Limerick Learning Neighbourhoods Celebrated the Launch at the Abundant Life Build on the 10th of April 2019. It showcased the rich diversity of learning of culturally distinct neighbourhoods
Learning is an enjoyable life long Journey.
Historically neighbourhoods possess a rich culture of informal learning . Limerick has a strong tradition of informal teaching and learning in sports, music ,boat building just to name a few.
Lifelong Learning Steering Group
LCEN representative on Limerick Lifelong Learning Steering Group, Jimmy Prior, presented the work of LCEN and Limerick Learning Neighbourhood project at a meeting of Learning Cities in Belfast this year.