Ireland’s largest community education provider pledges to transform the lives of a further 20,000 people by 2030

by Alison O'Hanlon
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Ireland’s largest provider of community education is pledging to empower a further 20,000 people to transform their lives by 2030. This will not only benefit adult learners, children and their parents, but also their families and communities.

An Cosán, which was founded 36 years ago to break the cycle of poverty for families living in West Tallaght, has already transformed the lives of over 20,000 people throughout the country through its unique model of education provision. This encompasses adult community education, online courses, early years’ education and care, and a range of holistic support services. These include counselling, financial support, IT support and digital skills, and one-to-one mentoring and tutoring. 

Speaking at the launch of An Cosán’s new strategy,Vision 2026: Transforming Lives Together, which took place during the organisation’s AGM at its Tallaght headquarters, Chair of the Board of Directors, Anna Durkan, said,

I am delighted to share our new strategy. It is bold, ambitious and builds on the remarkable strengths of the team and expertise that An Cosán has developed. It recognises the need to constantly innovate and improve our services in early years’ education and care, counselling and family support, and adult community education.”

Ms Durkan said that, since An Cosán was set up in 1986, over 20,000 learners had been enabled to access education and go on to live better lives. “Now we’re working to grow that impactacross the country and reach another 20,000 people over the next eight years,” she said. “We are committed to reaching even more adult learners, children and parents,and having an even greater influence to achieveour vision of ‘a world where everyone can access education to achieve their full potential’.

Pictured at the launch of An Cosán’s new strategy, Vision 2026: Transforming Lives Together, is An Cosán CEO Heydi Foster with Carly Fitzgerald who attends the after-school service at An Cosán Jobstown. Picture Robbie Reynolds

“Our strategy positions us to promote inclusivity by working with the most marginalised,” she continued. “It empowers us to influence systemic change, whether that is directly through influencing government policy, or through encouraging our learners towards active citizenship and enabling them to influence factors that affect their lives.”

An Cosán CEO Heydi Foster said that, as a forward-looking feminist organisation, An Cosán’s mission was to empower women and children left furthest behind through learning, leadership and enterprise. She said:We put women and children at the centre of everything we do, holding empowerment, equality and inclusion as core values. They are the ones we must break down barriers for. They are not passive participants in our work; they are supported to be active citizens and agents of their own change.

“We believe that those who are so often excluded from society – because of living in poverty, because of their gender or race, because of being lone parents, because of where they come from – have a right to be respected and valued, and to access opportunities. It is with the support of all those in our network and community that we are able to progress towards our goals of ending poverty and achieving a truly equal society.”

An Cosán’s new strategy, Vision 2026: Transforming Lives Together, aims to achieve a world where everyone can access education to achieve their full potential

Featured image: An Cosán Chair of the Board of Directors Anna Durkan (back right) and CEO Heydi Foster pictured at the launch of An Cosán’s new strategy, Vision 2026: Transforming Lives Together, with Carly Fitzgerald, who attends the after years service at An Cosán Jobstown, and her father Karl.

Picture Robbie Reynolds

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