South Westmeath Employment, Education and Training Services Limited (S.W.E.E.T.S. Ltd) is very much at the heart of Community Actions in South Westmeath. As per our mission statement, we are here to provide a professional advice, information and training service to the people of the South Westmeath and North Offaly areas.
Our many clients who drop in, telephone or email, or check out our Facebook page, are greeted by friendly, efficient staff who do their utmost to answer all types of queries and requests for information, assist with understanding and filling forms, have items typed, copied, faxed or scanned, emailed, advise clients about our many and varied training courses, or simply invite you in to join us for a ‘cuppa’ and a chat!
As a QQI (Fetac) accredited Training Centre, we provide top quality courses – with an internationally recognized qualification – and our training staff are fully qualified and experienced, helpful and sympathetic.
We provide facilities for community groups, such as Kilbeggan Active Retirement, Kilbeggan Tidy Towns, the Knighthood Festival, Renew Kilbeggan, the Craft Group, and any person, or group, who need a place to meet or organise an activity.
S.W.E.E.T.S. Ltd is the conduit for many Community Action Grants available from various Government departments. We are particularly proud to have been involved with the Department of Social Protection in the Activation and Family Support Program and the Disability Activation Project. We act on behalf of the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government in the Seniors Alert Scheme, providing security services to the senior members of our community. We also co-ordinate the annual Community Arts In Context project supported by Westmeath County Council’s County Arts Office. We like to be involved in, or assist with, any activity which makes Kilbeggan and the surrounding area a better place to live in.
South Westmeath Employment, Education and Training Services Limited came into being in 2001. The Kilbeggan Area Employment Project (K.A.E.P.) had been founded in 1997 through the urgings of those who were involved with community actions in the area at that time. They approached the Kilbeggan Community Employment Group, who operated a Community Employment Scheme in the Kilbeggan region, with the view to establishing a service for the unemployed in the area. They had realized that there was a great need for both information and training in the South Westmeath area. Through this committed community group, K.A.E.S. Ltd set about developing local services to attract new businesses and develop the workforce to hopefully stop the ongoing rural depopulation and social exclusion in the area.
Working closely with the state agencies, in particular FAS, Westmeath Community Development Ltd and Westmeath VEC Community Education Office, as well as with the local community, proposals for an employment service were prepared. A pilot project was initiated for the area in conjunction with the above-mentioned agencies, with the then Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs, the National Social Services Board, and others. It was also agreed to establish a centre in Kilbeggan that would be the focal point for outreach services for the surrounding areas. A management committee, comprised of local community and business representatives, was formed and this committee directly employed the first management and staff. The majority of this committee are still active within S.W.E.E.T.S. Limited.
In March, 2000, Kilbeggan Area Employment Services Limited was incorporated as a Company, Limited by Guarantee not Having a Share Capital. K.A.E.P. was amalgamated into this new company from January 2001. A voluntary Board of Directors, representing all interested groups, was appointed and its members oversaw the activities of the company. The incorporated company became quickly aware that its name did not fully represent its target area so Kilbeggan Area Employment Service became South Westmeath Employment, Education & Training Services Limited, in 2001.
Since 2006 S.W.E.E.T.S. Ltd is a Community Services Program (CSP), part-funded by the Department of Social Protection under the Social Inclusion chapter of the National Development Plan 2014-2020. These programmes support social enterprises to deliver local services to their communities and employ people from disadvantaged groups. The programme operates throughout Ireland, particularly in communities where there is a lack of mainstream public and private sector service provision due to geographical isolation and/or social exclusion. Programme funding enables these community enterprises to provide essential services and employment to those often excluded from society.