Coordinator Loughrea Family Resource Centre
Higher Diploma in Community Work and Youth Work 1990, Maynooth University
Masters of Applied Social Studies, 2013
On completion of my professional education, initially I worked for what is now Youth Work Ireland , subsequently moving to the Ballybane/Mervue Community Development Project in Galway and finally to my current role as Coordinator of the Loughrea Family Resource Centre (FRC) where I have been since it began 16 years ago.
My role has evolved from being responsible for developing and establishing the FRC to managing an organisation of 4 staff, a large body of volunteers requiring support and a board of management, all to ensure that we run effectively and address community needs in inclusive and empowering ways.
My community work education gave me the knowledge and skills to challenge inequality and poverty. It provided me with a framework and a critical analysis for understanding the world and really brought home the need to work to bring about social change. It helped me to recognise that individuals and groups experiencing the issues are experts in their own situation and we as community workers need to facilitate them to be involved in the work for change. My education gave me a clear understanding of the need to treat people equally while remaining professional.
For anyone interested in community work having a professional education gives you a theoretical framework and the knowledge and skills to challenge the status quo and work to make change happen. I have supported student placements from a variety of programmes over the years and this has really brought home to me the need to look at things with a more critical eye, to ask what is possible here. I think a professional community work education gives you that.