Unlocking Freedom Partners

Unlocking Freedom is a previous project that lead to the construction of ILLICO. It runned from 2015 to 2018. Please find all information about it here, where the project comes from, its partners, and the results.


The organisations involved in this project are:


Disability Federation of Ireland (Lead)
Disability Federation of Ireland (Lead), with Cathy McGrath

Cathy profile pic Mar 17“My qualifications are in sociology, social policy and equality studies and I have spent my career to date in the voluntary disability sector. My work has involved internal organisation support and capacity building, disability policy development and implementation, training programme development and coordination and project management at national and European level.

As lead within DFI for the Erasmus+ Project ‘Unlocking Freedom as a Vehicle to Employment’ I’m grateful for the opportunity to support innovative initiatives being developed and delivered by the partners, in the empowering, capacity building areas of Independent Living and Transitional Training for and with people with disabilities.

My other area of support is to coordinate the Community Participation Network (CPN) within the DFI Community Team.

Both areas of work are both inspiring and challenging, with a brilliant and diverse cohort of people to meet and work with at local to European level.

Within a context of pending ratification of UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in Ireland and its implementation throughout our partner countries this project is providing support to securing the increased capacity of people with disabilities to live independently within mainstream communities.”

Stewarts Care (Ireland)
Stewarts Care (Ireland)

Maynooth University (Ireland)
Maynooth University (Ireland)

Bernie Dr Bernie Grummell is a Lecturer in the Departments of Education and Adult & Community Education, Maynooth University in the areas of education and social justice, research methods, and transformative community development.

“I previously worked with the School of Sociology and the Equality Studies Centre in UCD. I am currently a member of the social science research subcommittee in Maynooth University, as well as actively engaging in community and civil society groups.”

CAMILLA Dr Camilla Fitzsimons has been working in community education since the 1990s.  She has worked with women’s groups, vocational groups, residents groups and campaign groups all as part of wider community development initiatives.  She describes herself as a critical feminist and has a particular interest in community education.

Josephine Finn: “I have been in adult education for over thirty years. I am a graduate of Maynooth University. I began as a mature student by participating in an outreach certificate course, offered by the Department in my local community school in 1982. Ten years later, I finally began my bachelor’s degree. I graduated in 1994 and completed my professional studies in adult education a year later. Like many adult educators, I commenced my career as a ‘freelance’ lecturer. I worked in a number of higher Josephine-Finn.education institutions, community education initiatives, industry and as a group work consultant with RTE. In 2000, I took up a post in the Department as Head of Continuing Education. As part of my role, I became responsible for the very courses that had given me and many others like me, an opportunity to study at university level in the community. It was a privilege to be in a position to develop the programmes further and bring them to ‘hard to reach’ groups who would not have had access to this form of education otherwise.”

laura Laura Burke: “I have worked in education for eleven years, primarily in facilitating inclusive education. My passion resides in facilitating learning with adults with intellectual (dis)abilities, who I refer to as students with diverse learning abilities in higher, further and community education. I began my teaching journey in KARE organisations’ adult services in Co. Kildare as a teacher on the lifelong learning programme, co – developing formal and informal educational opportunities with adults with diverse abilities seeking to engage and/or re -engage in education. I am a graduate of Maynooth University and I returned to education in 2011 after my degree to assist my development as a practitioner and social activist.  I worked as a facilitator on the Inclusive Learning Initiative (ILI) in Maynooth University with the Department of Adult and Community Education and the Higher Education Policy Unit. My interests are diverse but mostly are in equality, social justice, policy development and how students see inclusive educational practices. I sit on various educational committees supporting national policy development relative to inclusive education in Ireland and I was a board member on the Kildare and Wicklow Education Training and Board 2015 – 2016.”

Institute for Community based Social Services Foundation (ICSS)
Institute for Community based Social Services Foundation (ICSS) (Bulgaria)

Université Paris-Est Créteil Val De Marne (France)


petraMarjo Rikkinen is a graduated practical nurse and specialised in supporting persons with intellectual disabilities. She has several years of experience in working in housing services and supporting persons in their everyday lives. She has also worked with children with special needs and their families as a service councilor. Marjo has been working in the Service Foundation for People with an Intellectual Disabilities in Finland since 2007. Currently Marjo is working as a project manager and supporting families in times of transition, especially elderly people and families.

Petra Tiihonen is committed to promoting and improving the human rights and full participation of persons with disabilities. She has several years of experience in developing person-centered support and services for persons with disabilities. She holds a Master’s degree in Social Sciences. Petra has been working in the Service Foundation for People with an Intellectual Disabilities in Finland since 2009, currently Petra is working as a manager of project activities.

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