Today, Monday, May 19, we visited Limerick Social Services Council. The establishment is the oldest of its kind starting in 1967. They provided a wide ride of services from counselling, family advocacy, crèche (daycare), elderly services, parent support program, preschool, family welfare conference, and groups. LSSC combined their services to draw people in and make it less intimidating with a title of just counseling. Counseling and therapy is a relatively new phenomenon in Ireland. Of course with generic counselling the service is only offered to residents that are 18 and older. As we have come to find in our time in Ireland there is far and few between services offered to the younger generations. Though, they are willing to work with 16 year olds if they have been referred by a social worker.
One thing that stuck with me during the meeting with this agency is that they provide conference rooms for groups like AA to come and use their space rent free. This agency is more about helping the people then making the money. All the services they provide are also free as well but welcome donations to keep the operation going. Eighty-five percent of the funds come from the state. Grants though have been reduced because of the recent economic crises. In order to work at this agency you would need a master’s degree to work here. There is twenty-five counsellors/psychotherapists, 13 employees (one of which was a Social Worker), two master students from the University of Limerick and 8 volunteers. Unlike here in the States there is no national licensing requirement. LSSC also has four other outreach centers that they work with. It was interesting to learn that this is the only agency of its kind that offer support to community. I think what the agency is doing and the services that they provide they are doing great things to make a change in their city