My experience with community work at St. Mary's Adult Education Centre.

I am currently a second-year student in TUS (LIT) studying community and addiction studies. I decided to enroll in this course after completing my level five in social studies in LCFE in 2020, as the modules and description of the course intrigued me, and I wanted to gain insight and knowledge on what addiction is and the detrimental effects it can have on a person’s life. I always wanted to work in the community sector and follow the footsteps of my own mother who has worked in a multitude of community services such as pieta house and adapt. Since starting this course in 2021, I feel I have developed as an individual through gaining knowledge on how to better the quality of life for an individual or community as well as the various aspects that may cause negative effects in a community such as addiction and/or deprivation.

Deprivation is the lack of basic needs for an individual to have. Poverty, insufficient housing, low education, and a lack of work or social prospects are all examples of deprivation. Although deprivation is reduced in certain locations, such as inner cities, it can also be found in smaller towns and rural areas. Although substance use can be found almost anywhere, in deprived areas such as St. Mary’s Park it is more noticeable due to the lack of housing, education and poverty. John Gilligan stated in the Irish examiner “Nobody, and I mean nobody — Shannon Development or the IDA — ever lifted their finger to try and replace industries in the inner city for places like St Mary’s Park. They did absolutely nothing for them. The people of St Mary’s Park were simply left abandoned,”. He also states that no new houses have been built in over ten years and that the town has become abandoned. The lack of jobs in St. Mary's  Park has led to seventy percent of males and forty percent of females to be out of work in 2014. Only two percent of St. Mary’s community have got an education as far as third level.

I am currently covering my placement in St. Mary's  Adult Education, and I am currently on week five of my placement. St. Mary’s adult education is a great service that helps the individuals in St. Mary’s Park to grow a sense of purpose in their community by offering them a multitude of level three and four courses as well as just weekly classes such as digital media, gardening, sewing, art class, managing stress and anxiety, child development through play and lots more. St Mary’s adult education use classes such as gardening to help put back into their community by offering families in the community help with their maintenance in their gardens for free with their ageing plus service. They also have a friendly calls service which is used to provide a friendly chat for older or vulnerable people. Courses such as child development through play and coping with stress and anxiety helps benefit the individuals in the community to gain the awareness, skills, and capability to use play as part of their child’s developmental stage and help the individual gain the confidence to communicate with their child and themselves in a calm, collective way.

Chelsea O’Connor


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