As the Limerick Community Education Network marks its 25th anniversary, community workers and staff members were honoured at a celebration event.

Every week, a unique volunteer-led umbrella group helps to organise community education classes for 3,200 people across 40 venues in Limerick city. They are the Limerick Community Education Network (LCEN) and they cover everything from découpage to the Leaving Cert.

In November, supporters gathered to mark the network’s 25th anniversary. LCEN believes it is unique for being the longest-running and widest-reaching community education network in the country. The network of 15 community organisations and statutory agencies supports adult learning in communities across the city.

Helen Flanagan, LCEN chairperson and local community worker, said: “We run classes in knitting, sewing, woodwork and much more. That’s where it’s at. It’s about getting out of the house. It’s about meeting people, gaining confidence, and learning too. Accreditation is great, but non-accreditation is where it’s at for us.”

Adult education coordinator Josephine Sheedy

Adult education organiser Josephine Sheedy enjoys the spotlight. Watching on are community workers Helen Flanagan, Mary Flannery and Jim Prior. Photo: Changing Ireland.

TDs Maurice Quinlivan and Jan O’Sullivan were present on the occasion and joined local councillors Elena Secas and Jerry O’Dea in congratulating the volunteers.

At the event, Flanagan paid tribute to Josephine Sheedy (pictured right) from Moyross, saying, “She has encouraged and supported learners from her community and beyond for the past 21 years.

“She has served on the LCEN as chair, secretary and treasurer. And general dogsbody, as we all have,” she added.

Jim Prior paid tribute to co-ordinator Catherine Aylmer, saying it is her drive and commitment that keeps the show on the road. He appealed to the two TDs present for continuing support.

“Community education is so important and we are dependent on regeneration funding to continue funding our co-ordinator’s position. Please help and support us to keep that position,” he requested. Both TDs assured him of their support.

The night was a real celebration, with the Southill Roses’ performance getting the whole audience singing along.

To learn more about LCEN and its work, contact Catherine Aylmer at LCEN Office, 267 O’Malley Park, Southill, Limerick; on 087 764 2659; or via

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