“We have developed vision and purpose as a group”
Wicklow Town Photography Group
Wicklow Photography Club registered as a new group with Wicklow Community Education in September 2017. Initially, the group wanted to learn photo-editing skills. With tutor, Conor Wickham at the helm, this training took place in the dark winter evenings in Wicklow Further Education and Training centre.
Having acquired the photo-editing skills, the group was then ready to take on a challenging, collective project to raise their profile in the local community, gain new members and, at the same time, progress their development as a group. Conor created a programme to support this goal; it was called “Getting Exhibition Ready” and it facilitated the whole project management process of developing an idea, planning, organising and promoting the event.
“Looking to the Future While Remembering Wicklow’s Past” was the theme of the exhibition which took place in Wicklow County Council Buildings in Wicklow Town.
The exhibition was opened by Minister of state, Andrew Doyle on Monday 11 June 2018 and ran for two weeks. It attracted the interest of local media, as well as the local community.
Feedback from the group
By working on a collective project, members have developed a stronger group identity; prior to this project, they took photos and focused on their individual achievements, whereas now they have a shared vision of where they are going as a group; “the tutor facilitated greatly in this area by drawing us in and pointing issues out and helping us to focus on meeting deadlines”.
An added bonus of the project was the connections made with other local community groups, such as Wicklow Historical Society, as well as government bodies such as the Wicklow County Council. The group feel that showcasing their work will increase their membership and also be beneficial when submitting funding applications.
“We have more of a chance of avoiding burnout”
Dunlavin Parents’ Group
Supporting groups to continue to be effective is one of the aims of Community Education. By facilitating groups to undertake training in relevant areas and by building peoples’ confidence to assume responsibility for group tasks and leadership roles, Community Education supports groups to be stronger and more effective.
An example of this type of support took place when facilitator, Noel Fitzgerald worked with the Dunlavin Parents’ Group. The group was established recently by Tusla to create a support network for parents and families in the area. The participants gave feedback on how the training helped them as a recently-formed group.
Firstly, the fact that the course was specific to their particular community group was identified as beneficial, time was not wasted on very generic issues. Also, the training helped the group to refocus on its Mission Statement and to explore how to reach their goals. A session reviewing their work to-date was helpful in clarifying how much the group had achieved and how far it had come. The involvement of all members in the training positively encouraged team-building.
Quotes from Group Members
“I think it has given us great head space to think and explore ideas in a way that we would never have done in a traditional committee set up. The experience can only add to the success of the group”
“We jumped into spending funding before we had reflected upon fundamental things, like aims and goals. Noel made us stop and think things through and clarify our vision and aims. We are stronger as a result and we have more of a chance of avoiding burnout and being sustainable as a group.”
“Reaching our members with Facebook”
Suncroft Village Community Outreach Group
Suncroft Village Community Outreach Group is a voluntary group, with the aim of providing opportunities to the people of Suncroft to engage, enable and simply, get involved within our community. We promote social inclusion and active citizenship, via a range of activities including; community environmental projects in the form of planting flower beds, cleaning and enrichment of open spaces, information evenings, social activities and events.
As a rural community in a sparsely populated area, we found it difficult to reach out to as many people as we would like. We hoped that by using Social media, we would be able to reach, contact and engage with a far larger audience.
KWETB has facilitated this intention by providing our members with the opportunity to partake in a “Facebook Formalisation Course”. By completing this course our group have significantly increased our capability to reach out and engage with a far greater number of residents within our target area.
Most of our members are middle aged with minimum experience in using social media platforms. This course has increased our knowledge, skills, attitudes and abilities to use social media in a very positive manner in order to communicate with and inform as many members of our community as possible in relation to planned courses, events, and activities which are inclusive to all members of the greater Suncroft community.
On behalf of myself and members of the group, I wish to express our sincere appreciation to KWETB for facilitating and enabling us to undertake this course,
Anne Setright, Chairperson
Adult Learner Festival Mindfulness and Wellbeing Project
Newbridge Women’s Group
Newbridge women’s group were one of the five community education groups which participated in the Adult Learning Festival events in 2018. The group undertook to learn mindfulness as a way of increasing wellbeing and sharing it within the wider community.
The group trained with Tutor Dominic Cogan an experienced KWETB, Mindfulness tutor over a period of fifteen weeks. They took on the project with great enthusiasm and a little apprehension.
However, by March 6th, the beginning of the annual Adult Learning Festival, the group were ready to share their newfound skills and insights to their local community. They offered three stand –alone Chat and Chill events designed to nourish both body and mind. The events were well attended and received with lots of discussion on the benefits of mindfulness among everyone present. The group also put together a booklet of poems selected by the group members to share with the community.
The group was established in 2008 as a locally based voluntary community education women group.
To date they have organised courses as diverse as Women’s Studies, Personal Development, Healthy Eating and Arts and Crafts and much more. They meet on Wednesday evenings 7:30 – 9:30 and new members are always welcome.
Nora O’Hanlon, Network Kildare Development Worker 045 881106
‘Sense of Place’
South Kildare Villages History and Heritage Group
The idea behind the course was to establish a Local History group in a large disjointed rural area stretching from Castledermot to Kilcullen and from the Moate of Ardscull to Moone and Timolin. It was important not simply to create a committee but explore how rich the history and heritage of the area was and what sources or resources were available to help inform and educate. You cannot beat local knowledge. From the outset the participants disclosed themes, events, people and locations unique to the area, looking for unique selling points that would be of interest to visitors, new residents, school children and indeed ‘locals’ alike. They created the idea of a ‘Whistle-Stop Tour’ whereby some members form an area would bring others to locations they were familiar with and give a brief history and description. This would be reciprocated by the remainder at a later date. This format could be developed into tourism trails and so on.
The participants took control of their fledging committee, adopting roles, duties and a five-month programme of talks to put the South Kildare Villages History and Heritage Group on a sound footing. It has already allowed them to forge partnerships and links within the community in terms of a possible new parish newsletter and engagement with the new Tanyard project. It is the beginning of their own ‘Sense of Place.’
Mario Corrigan, KWETB Tutor