Let’s Reconnect – Online Adult Learners Festival

Four adult learner groups in Co. Kildare are eagerly looking forward to taking part in the ‘Let’s Reconnect’ online Adult Learners’ Festival event on Tuesday, March 2nd at 3p.m. The Breakout Art Group from Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA) Athy, Kildare Branch Down Syndrome Ireland, Kilcullen Community 4 Climate Action and Celbridge ShareRing Skills have been developing community education projects and reflecting on the experience of reconnecting with each other during the pandemic, and are now ready to share that learning. Admission to the online celebration is free but registration is essential at communityeducationkwetb.ie

It’s all part of the national AONTAS Adult Learner Festival supported by KWETB, Community Education –Kildare. This year the theme of the festival in Kildare, ‘Let’s Reconnect’, addresses the challenge community groups have experienced in lockdown. It explores our awareness around the issues involved and looks at what we can do in our own lives and communities to make a difference.

Kilcullen Community 4 Climate Action has brought together a group of people to focus on community resilience and climate action across the county of Kildare. They are working to engage people on how we can make changes and build on local economies and food networks, as well as raising awareness around individual action. They have learnt that the skill of listening is an important part of building connections with people and that deep listening can open up new ways of communicating and working together.

The Breakout Art Group are a group of IWA Service Users who came together during COVID-19. With support from KWETB Community Education they started having Mixed Media classes online in May. For many these classes were the only time they had contact with people outside of the home. They now recognise themselves as a group of artists who concentrate on “our abilities rather than our disabilities as we have taken on many challenges to get here.” The group are also participating in an online exhibition
in association with Athy Library during March.

ShareRing Skills, felt cut off from their community in Celbridge by Covid. Their journey back began with KWETB Community Education bridging the gap in ICT skills and supporting them in re-connecting with their membership. From initial training, they found both courage and keyboard skills and building on these skills, eagerly engaged with their tutors to extend their digital skills to move the group into social media.

This is the story from construction to launch of SRS Facebook page and Website. Kildare Down Syndrome Ireland offers support to 220 families in Kildare and West Wicklow area with a
son or daughter with Down Syndrome. It seeks to provide support for people to live as independently as possible. It also offers practical, professional, and clinical support as well as social and educational activities. For their ALF project, Kildare Down Syndrome Ireland documented the journey of their adult members as they negotiated life behind the cloud of Covid. They have revealed the resilience and strength of those adults, the commitment and support of their families, the compassion and dedication of the KDS teaching team and the determination and passion of the branch committee to keep members connected and supported.

Further information on this year’s Adult Learners’ Festival is available at 087-9586455 or by email communityedkildare@kwetb.ie

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