SHEP celebrates 50 years of community work

SHEP graduates with SHEP staff and supporters from the Mid-West Regional Drug and Alcohol Forum (MWRDAF) and Limerick and Clare ETB. Photo: Olena Oleksienko/ilovelimerick

A LOCAL project that helps people who have fallen away from education get back on the right foot recently celebrated 50 years of work in the community.

The celebration came in tandem with a graduation ceremony for the project’s members at the Greenhills Hotel in Limerick City on June 5.

The Social Health and Education Project (SHEP), originally established in Cork in 1974, are celebrating five decades at work in the community this month.

The project is a not-for-profit, community-based training and development organisation based in Limerick, Cork, Kerry. The SHEP Midwest Programme is supported by the Mid West Regional Drug and Alcohol Forum and Limerick and Clare ETB.

The programme offers an eight-week introduction to personal development, followed by a more in-depth 29-week course.

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Cora Foley, youth development officer with the Limerick and Clare ETB, said that for many participants, SHEP is “often the first step back into the education space, helping individuals gain confidence and develop their skills and talents”.

Jim Sheehan, SHEP director, reflected on the project reaching 50 years, saying that “our courses may not be for everyone, but they offer a valuable next step for many. We provide a supportive environment, and our facilitators are dedicated to helping participants apply their learning to benefit their lives and communities.”

The recent local graduation, a SHEP representative said, not only marks an achievement for SHEP in celebrating a half-century supporting Irish communities, but highlights the impact the project has made on individuals and local communities.